If these promising membership-based health care models have finally caught your eye and convinced you to give them a shot, the next question now is, "How do I choose between direct primary care (DPC) and concierge medicine?"
The first thing to note is that there is much that concierge medicine and DPC have in common – the most important one is that both models offer no-frills, direct patient care that brings doctor and patient together, the way it should be.
As Per Concierge Medicine Today, what DPC and concierge medicine have differently is demography, insurance participation, billing methods, and the number of services offered within a particular subscription.
To establish the difference between both membership-based health care models and identify which one fits your needs best. There are some essential points you should keep in mind.
Here are a few differences between concierge medicine and direct primary care membership models:
The concierge medicine membership fees are usually higher than the membership fees for DPC. Concierge medicine subscriptions range anywhere from $101-$4,000 a month, while DPC subscriptions go for about $30-$300 per month.
No matter the price range, what is great about DPC and concierge medicine subscriptions is that patients have the freedom to end their subscription anytime they wish.
Concierge Medicine has an annual fee that can be paid in full or in parts. However, the contract is valid for the entire year. At DPC, members usually pay a monthly fee and can cancel the program at any time.
DPC provides essential basic services, although membership fees can also cover x-rays or lab tests. Concierge medicine includes a much range of personalized and premium services.
The patient membership fees cover all Direct Primary Care services. However, Concierge cares still sometimes bills your insurance company for specific covered services that you have incurred.
Another major differentiating factor between DPC and concierge medicine is that some concierge medicine subscriptions are still sometimes able to bill your insurance company for specific covered services that you have incurred.
In contrast, all payments made within a DPC subscription are, true to its name, to be settled directly between doctor and patient only, without third-party billers.
Although both subscription types cover preventive and routine care services, concierge doctors offer a slew of added perks, including (but not limited to) in-depth, personalized executive physical exams, inter-disciplinary communication and coordination for when you need to see other specialists.
It is not uncommon for your concierge doctor to accompany you to specialist visits. This ensures that the treatment you receive corresponds to any pre-existing conditions or ongoing treatments you may already have.
Heavily discounted out-patient services and medication are invaluable perks that patients can take advantage of in their concierge medicine subscription, which is something unheard of when it comes to your traditional health insurance.
For example, a Complete Blood Count (CBC) test may cost you $50-$60 at a hospital while your concierge doctor can do that for you in their office clinic for as low as $1-$2.
Antihistamine medicine like Cetirizine can cost you up to $14.43 for a 10-mg dosage, while many DPC clinics can dispense it for only $1.08. Your long-term savings from medication alone is enough to cover your DPC or concierge medicine subscription already!
Direct primary care practices are particularly appealing to younger patients and most concierge patients are over 50 years old.
Concierge medicine subscriptions tend to be more focused on providing high-end services and added value to their patients. DPC subscriptions, on the other hand, strive to be more cost-efficient.
For patients who require extra attention, say senior citizens or those with chronic conditions, a concierge medicine subscription can positively impact their present and future well-being.
Concierge care has been around for many years, while DPC has only become significant over the past few years. DPC practices are the most common and successful in rural areas where there is a shortage of doctors.
People opt for concierge care mainly for specializations like pediatrics, senior care, sports medicine, etc., which provides patients with first-rate, personalized care.
Since DPCs do not accept Medicare or any other type of insurance, they are not subject to the Medicare regulations that concierge care practices must adhere to. DPC is listed in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as an acceptable form of health care coverage, while concierge care doesn't.
It is also important to note that many membership subscriptions are hybrids. A subscription is considered a hybrid when it features a combination of both DPC and concierge medicine characteristics. These days, more and more concierge doctors assume DPC features (and vice versa) as a way of providing their patients with better service.
Choosing a DPC or concierge medicine subscription is a matter of simply assessing which one covers all of your health care needs at a price point you can afford.
To wrap it all up, Concierge Medicine Today makes some pretty imperative points. In both concierge medicine and DPC, people have inherent value. There is no class order, no first-class or second class, no higher or lower premiums, just people for whom doctors serve each day.
They have built clinics for children, families, and sick people. These visionary physicians are drawing attention to healthcare costs across the country and designing ways to be available and affordable for anyone.
Authored by Harsha Moole, M.D., MBBS
Advocate of healthcare models that promote direct relationship between patients and doctors. Founder @ FindMyDirectDoctor, LLC.
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