Concierge medicine was once the favored healthcare option of the wealthy. But what is concierge medicine, and why might this be the right healthcare model for everyone?
The concept is simple. You pay an annual retainer fee to a provider or medical practice, who will then provide you with a greater level of access and personalization.
This provides patients with a higher standard of care and attention, while doctors can keep their patient lists small and build long-term relationships with patients.
There are, of course, pros and cons of concierge medicine. Let’s examine the concierge medicine benefits, as well as its drawbacks.
What is Concierge Medicine?
A concierge medical practice provides direct access and personalized care to patients. Physicians operating a concierge medical practice will typically form their own boutique medical practice consisting of a small number of qualified physicians.
Patient lists are smaller, which minimizes paperwork and bureaucracy. This means patients get to build trusted relationships with their physicians.
But what is a concierge doctor?
Concierge doctors have the same qualifications and experience as any other primary care physician. They’re able to diagnose, administer lab tests, and conduct annual physicals.
However, like most primary care physicians, they’re unable to carry out specialized treatments or surgeries.
Concierge Medicine: Pros and Cons
Now that you know what concierge medicine is, how do you know if it’s the right healthcare option for your employees?
There are multiple pros and cons of concierge medicine. This healthcare model isn’t for everybody. We examine the benefits and problems with concierge medicine so you can make an informed decision regarding your future healthcare offerings.
Pro: More Time for Patients
Both physicians and patients find it frustrating that they don’t have the time to build strong relationships. Boutique medicine offers the chance for physicians and patients to spend more time together due to smaller patient lists.
If your employees are frustrated by the time it takes to schedule, travel to, and wait for doctor’s appointments, concierge medicine is worth it.
Pro: Personalized Care
Many people ask, “What is a concierge medical practice, and how does it differ from an ordinary practice?”
There is a considerable difference between this healthcare model and other standard healthcare options. In particular, boutique medical practices can tailor their care towards the communities they serve.
This may include providing specialized treatments and being able to build fee structures that match the average annual incomes of the local area.
Pro: Unlimited Primary Care Services
Since patients are typically charged a single annual fee, most primary care visits will already be covered. Unlike a standard primary care facility, patients will not have to pay a copay or fee every time they visit their concierge doctor.
For people with chronic conditions, it can result in cheaper overall healthcare costs in the long term.
Con: High Prices
The overall cost of concierge medicine has come down in recent years. Annual fees range from $1,000 to $20,000 per year.
Fees depend on the boutique medical practice in question and the services offered. It might not be worth paying such a high fee for people who rarely require primary care services.
Con: No Substitute for Medical Insurance
One thing concierge practices and ordinary standard primary care practices share is you still need medical insurance to cover specialist treatments, prescriptions, and hospital visits.
Paying an annual fee to a concierge doctor is no substitute for comprehensive medical insurance.
Con: Lack of Availability
Are concierge doctors worth it?
They can be if there is sufficient availability. Much of the U.S. still has a severe lack of availability. Even if you have a concierge physician operating in your area, you may find that they have already maxed out their patient lists.
Concierge doctors have a much lower capacity due to the personalized nature of the service they provide.
To put it simply, many Americans won’t have access to this healthcare model.
Alternative Healthcare Models for Easy Access Services
There are alternative healthcare models to both standard primary care and concierge medicine. If you feel like these healthcare models don’t fulfill your needs, here are some alternative healthcare models you could explore:
Virtual Services: With more people working from home, virtual healthcare services provide patients with access to primary care physicians from the comfort of their own homes.
Direct Primary Care (DPC): The DPC model shares many similarities with concierge medicine. The difference is that DPC focuses on reducing overheads by cutting out insurers, whereas the concierge model focuses on value-added services.
Large Healthcare Networks: Whether run by a coalition of physicians or hospitals, these large healthcare networks have a high capacity and a large number of treatment options, yet lack the personalization and continuity desired by patients.
Acquire Easy Access Healthcare Services
Eden Health offers virtual healthcare services to patients all over the country. We provide a high level of personalization at an affordable price for employers. Contact us to learn more about Eden Health and how a concierge care model could benefit your workforce.