Direct primary care is the free market applied to health care

When I share information about Direct Primary Care with others, I’m often met with fierce resistance and disbelief. I’ve even been told that I’m full of, well, you know what!  So today, when I saw this interview with Dr. Josh Umbehr of Atlas M.D. I couldn’t wait to share it!  Dr. Umbehr shares with us the highlights of Direct Primary Care and how the revolutionary healthcare model is changing the way Americans receive their primary care.

Dr. Josh Umbehr on the Rapid Growth of Direct Primary Care

“Direct primary care is the free market applied to health care. It’s medicine finally taking the best elements of other business models such as Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu and applying them to an industry that’s ten or fifteen years behind the rest of the world in terms of business structure. It brings a very high-value, low-cost model to the masses.”

Here are some of the highlights of Direct Primary Care and how it saves money for the masses and fixes access to care, by far the most agregious problem in the healthcare systems of “every other developed country”, as well as in America. (Quotes below from Dr. Josh Umbehr in his interview by Tim White of the Objective Standard)

  1. Direct Primary Care brings a membership model to healthcare: “We charge $10 per month for kids, or $50 to $100 per month for adults, based on age.”
  2. Direct Primary Care lowers the cost of health insurance, because it removes the cost of basic care from insurance, saving insurance for the catastrophic claims it should be used for: “Direct primary care makes insuring the routine 80 percent of your health care unnecessary.”
  3. Direct Primary Care lowers the cost of procedures, prescriptions, labs and x-ray: “My best example is an EKG—it costs thirty-six cents, so we do it for free. The coffee in the waiting room costs more than that.” “Just as Amazon can use its size, technology, and resources to find the best prices for me, we can do the same for patients when it comes to medications and labs. We can get those things wholesale at giant savings, sometimes up to 95 percent off.”
  4. Direct Primary Care saves money for the chronically ill and those who might need high tech imaging such as CAT, PET or MRI: “A diabetic patient may have trouble getting his A1c testing covered because it’s expensive. We can do that test for $2.25. It’s $150 at most other places. A diabetic can get a thousand pills of Metformin—more than a year’s supply—for $11.” “We may not have in-house the orthopedic surgeon who does the surgery, but we can certainly do the MRI that the surgeon will need. Instead of $3,000, we do it for $300.”
  5. Direct Primary Care provides quality healthcare: “There’s “cost-effective” health care, which would say, “Don’t do mammograms until you’re forty-five or fifty,” depending on what guideline you use. Well, if you have a family history of breast cancer and you’re worried about it, you might start doing mammograms at forty. Some people will say you’re not cost effective, but I say, “That’s what the patient wanted, and it’s $75 for a mammogram through a direct primary care provider. She can comfortably afford it, and it buys her peace of mind—that’s quality care.”
  6. Direct Primary Care provides value to its patients: “The nausea medicine Zofran, prescribed to pregnant women for morning sickness, is around $120 for thirty pills. We get it wholesale for $2.65.” “Doctors can order brand-name newborn diapers wholesale for $0.02 per diaper. We can get a case of 240 diapers for even less at $3.77—it sells for $38 on Amazon.” DPCs resell wholesale items like diapers and prescriptions to their patients at cost; they do not mark them up.
  7. Direct Primary Care routinely saves patients thousands on emergency or urgent care.  Consider this tweet from a Dr Janice M Hudson, MD.

In conclusion, we as Americans can do better than “other developed countries”, and what makes us different is freedom.  If the government would allow us to buy wraparound insurance to protect us from unforeseen catastrophes, healthcare in America would once again become affordable for the masses, freeing us from waste so that we could use money saved to protect those who are truly in need.

 

 

 

Save on Prescriptions-Use Direct Primary Care!

Often as I speak with insurance clients, I suggest to them to enroll with a Direct Primary Care physician and pair that with a high deductible, catastrophic health insurance plan, but sometimes I get pushback from clients who are unwilling to pay for both, especially since even catastrophic coverage is expensive these days.

But one thing consumers don’t realize is that in many cases, prescription savings alone can easily pay for the cost of the DPC membership.  Let me give you an example.  A few weeks ago, I was researching health plans for a client who takes Cymbalta. Well it turns out that most individual insurance plans in Colorado won’t even cover Cymbalta anymore, except for the generic alternative.  But in this person’s case, she was allergic to an ingredient in the generic, and could only take the brand name.  Well Cymbalta runs about $230 retail, so that would have been an additional monthly cost for this consumer on top of her health insurance plan.  But what if she used  Direct Primary Care doc for her routine care and prescriptions?  Her monthly fee for unlimited, 24×7 primary care would have been approximately $65, AND, she would have access to monthly Cymbalta for about $15!  I’m blown away by the savings available on Cymbata, Effexor, Omeprazole, Imitrex and others.  It just makes sense to look into DPC as a way to obtain affordable Rx pricing for routine medications.

Below is a picture of some sample Rx pricing that I obtained from a DPC in PA called Core Family Practice.  I hope Dr. Haug doesn’t mind me sharing this with you!  Just look at Rx savings examples!  These savings alone are a no-brainer.  Everyone, especially those who need routine medications should consider Direct Primary Care.  It’s not a replacement for major medical coverage, but it can pay for itself and give you a quality of service that you never thought possible from your primary care doctor.

Sample Rx Pricing from Direct Primary Care

 

 

 

Do health insurance companies make unreasonable profits?

One of the things that irritates me the most is when people try to make the argument that health insurers are to blame for the high cost of healthcare.  We especially see the common complaint that insurance CEOs salaries are too high and that somehow, their salaries are at the heart of America’s problematic health care costs.  So I appreciate this article, which compares health insurance profit margins relative to other industries.  The article makes it clear that it isn’t necessarily insurance that is the problem, but rather, the high cost of healthcare. Granted, the way that insurance is regulated exacerbates the problem, and government requires insurance to cover things that really do not need to be covered, particularly routine, predictable, everyday primary health care.  Insurance should be reserved for the catastrophe, not routine care that would otherwise be affordable if we were to pay directly.

The real problem we are experiencing is lack of price transparency in the healthcare industry.  If that one small piece was fixed, along with reforms that would free up insurance companies to design affordable, catastrophic coverage options, Americans would find that healthcare can be affordable.  Hopefully, politicians will recognize this when it comes crafting future reforms.  Until then, Americans must find other ways to access care affordably.  My website, www.freemarkethealthcareblog.com, is designed with plenty of links to help you do just that, so don’t stop here.  Be sure to look for Direct Pay physicians in your area and take control of your healthcare costs.  Use these great new apps to access affordable urgent care and lower your out of pocket costs for prescriptions too!  Let’s not wait for our goverment to fix things.  Start saving now, by becoming informed about affordable healthcare alternatives.