by Jordan Roberts
Director of Government Affairs, John Locke Foundation
Beginning in 2019, Nebraska’s state employees will have the option to enroll in a Direct Primary Care (DPC) benefit plan. The governor signed Legislative Bill 1119 back in April, which set up the DPC pilot program for three years. DPC does not accept third-party payments from health insurance companies, Medicare, or Medicaid. Instead, the providers charge patients a monthly fee (around $75) for unlimited, around the clock coverage, for a predetermined set of services.
In the healthcare market, much of a patient’s consumer power is outsourced to the insurance company or whomever they get coverage from. Under the DPC model, the focus is on the patient-provider relationship. Primary care providers have to dedicate a great deal of time, money, and manpower to handle the copious amounts of insurance paperwork. DPC leads to higher levels of more personalized care because the DPC providers can use all of their resources previously used for insurance compliance, for more face-to-face time with patients.
When public sector plans include an option for DPC, the benefits do not only show up in better, less expensive care for their patients. State and county governments will not have to budget as much to pay for the health coverage, saving taxpayer dollars. Union County, NC implemented a similar program for their employees and the results were promising. DPC patients reported better overall health and saved the county $1.28 million in health care costs.