About a week ago, my daughter fell ill with Strep throat. I knew she needed the $10 lifesaver, amoxicillin, so I called our primary care physician’s office to schedule a same day appointment and get the required prescription. Figuring that the family physician reserves a few same day appointments for urgent needs, I didn’t think there would be a problem. I called early in the morning to reserve a time. Disappointingly, I was told there were no appointments available, and that we would need to go either to Urgent Care or the ER for treatment.
I saw the dollar signs adding up. Urgent care can run anywhere from $150 at a grocery store walk in clinic to $1000 at the ER. Neither of those options were going to be feasible. Of course being in the business I’m in, I knew of a couple of other possibilities:
1.). Most health insurance plans now offer Digital MD or Teledoc Services, such as Anthem’s LiveHealth Online or…
2.) We could look into the latest and greatest Free Market Health Care Movement, Direct Primary Care (DPC).
Unfortunately, my daughter’s individual health insurance plan does not offer a teledoc service, so I decided to call PeakMed Primary Care, a direct pay clinic in Colorado Springs, CO. PeakMed does not accept any form of insurance, but with an affordable, $65 per month subscription, patients are entitled to unlimited, 24X7 health care service, with no additional payments or fees. Yes, it’s extra for my family, but ohhh so worth it! PeakMed was able to fit my daughter into their schedule within an hour, and the service was top of the line. The doctor spent all the time with us that we needed, no rush. They didn’t have to waste any time asking canned electronic medical record questions required by the Affordable Care Act, so we got right down to business. The doctor was able to order a stronger than normal dosage for my daughter, which she needed, as per Dr. Brown’s advice. The ACA would have forbidden our regular doctor from deviating away from standard protocol, and possibly, her infection might have come back.
I just had to tell my friends about the fantastic service we received. A few days later, one of my friends wanted to learn more. Her son has Medicaid, but under Medicaid, he does not have access to the primary care he needs. My friend felt that her son could easily afford to supplement his health care needs by signing up with PeakMed! I thought, “what a great idea!” Rarely, people with Medicaid are able to access the primary care they need, whether for pain management, diabetes, blood pressure control, etc. $65/mo can be affordable, even for those with lower incomes. It’s all about priorities.
…And PeakMed has a couple of options for you when prescriptions or tests are needed. If you have insurance for prescriptions, they will call your prescription into your regular pharmacy, and if you don’t have insurance, they have an in-house pharmacy, like veterinarians do, and they will sell you their prescriptions at wholesale, no markup! If you need lab work, well, PeakMed has that figured out too. They do blood work in-house, and if you need an MRI or other scan, they negotiate very discounted rates for their clients.
When it comes right down to it, I believe that all Americans should receive their primary care directly, as opposed to being limited by the networked practitioners within their health insurance plans. Third party payment for primary care only serves to increase costs and degrade quality. Just imagine how affordable primary care would be, if all primary care facilities had to compete for our business. We really don’t need insurance against the cost of primary care; that’s kind of like buying car insurance to pay for oil changes, right? It’s just not necessary. To keep health insurance affordable, we should really only be using it to protect ourselves from bankruptcy. Unfortunately, in today’s environment, we don’t have access to catastrophic health insurance. We have high deductible insurance that covers everything under the sun…it’s not the same thing. Gone are the days when one could purchase a plan for just hospitalization and prescriptions.
In the days and weeks to come, I plan to spend a lot more time chatting with my subscribers about Direct Primary Care. I’m looking forward to sharing with you more information about the cost of treating chronic diseases, such as diabetes, under a DPC physician.
In the meantime, you can do your own homework on Direct Primary Care by visiting sites like:
Dr. Jim Brook
Saluda Lake Medical Center
There are so many more! Subscribe to learn!