by Katherine Restrepo
Director of Health Care Policy, John Locke Foundation
Direct primary care (DPC) allows patients unlimited access to their physicians in exchange for a monthly cash payment ranging between $25-85 a month. No insurance is accepted.
But since Obamacare requires everyone to purchase health insurance, many question why anybody would be willing to pay twice for health care.
Dr. Patrick Rohal, a direct primary care physician whose practice is located in Pennsylvania, articulates why:
My reply is that when you have health insurance, you are already paying twice. The first time you pay is when you (or your employer, or the government) pay your premiums, and the second time is when you pay anything in addition to those premiums, like copays, prescriptions, etc. Direct Primary Care is a way to decrease how much you shell out for the second payment, while providing high quality, easily accessible primary care to boot.
Allow me to illustrate this with a real life example. A friend of mine was jogging one day recently, and he cut his leg while trying to hop over a guardrail to avoid a deep puddle. He went to the ER. The ER doc did a skillful job stitching up the wound, and the insurance company, a few weeks later, did a skillful job of handing him a bill for $1800! (Alas, he had a high deductible.) My friend had no way to predict, nor to control, the costs adding up as his leg was being mended in the ER. In CovenantMD, the total bill for the procedure would have been $70 paid at the time of service, a price he would know before hand, as he would have already known that it costs $50 for me to come in after hours, and another $20 to do stitches.