Are Monthly-Fee Doctors Who Don’t Take Insurance the Future?

Direct primary care is a new trend in healthcare where doctors work for themselves and charge a monthly membership fee.

Pediatrician / Image: Charlotte Parent
Pediatrician / Image: Charlotte Parent

With health insurance prices spiraling out of control, it’s no surprise that patients are looking for alternatives. A recent Business Insider article discussed a new trend called direct primary care in which patients pay a monthly membership fee that covers the majority of the average patient’s needs, including visits and drugs at lower prices. The practice is attracting physicians willing to make less money to not deal with the stress of the standard fee-for-service model where they are incentivized to see more patients for less time in order to maximize profits.

The article looks at a Tennessee family with kids that opted for direct primary care instead of a high-deductible health plan. Their monthly fee of about $150 covers basic checkups, same-day or next-day appointments, and the ability to get medications and lab tests at or close to wholesale prices. An informational chart in the article pits direct primary care against traditional doctors visits with side-by-side comparisons, and the new practice looks appealing.

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