Concierge medicine is a relationship between a patient and a primary care physician in which the patient pays an annual fee or retainer. This type of relationship was created to build stronger ties and aligned incentives between patients and their doctors. Most fees average between $125-$220/month. A lot of people like to compare Concierge Medicine to Direct Primary Care (DPC) and while the general idea behind them is the same, there are also some key differences that patients who are considering either need to know.
The distinguishing factor differentiating DPC and Concierge Medicine or Care is not priced although DPCs tend to run cheaper; it’s insurance participation of the doctor, monthly billing (seen at most DPC clinics), and the number of services offered.
In both Concierge Medicine and DPC, people have inherent value. Since every patient pays the same retainer/monthly fee, they are all expected to be treated equally. However, in Concierge Medicine, there is an annual fee that can be paid in full or split up, but the contract is for the entire year. In DPC, members typically pay a monthly fee and can drop out of the program at any time. The membership fee in Concierge Medicine is higher than that of DPCs, but unlike DPCs, most CMs accept some form of insurance and offer much wider services.
Concierge Medicine focuses on providing value-added services outside of the bounds of things usually covered by insurance. A CM physician generally remains affiliated with insurance networks and, therefore, can refer to specialists who are also within the patient’s network. A DPC doctor is an out-of-network provider, so referrals to specialists or for special lab testing or medical imaging such as MRIs, ultrasounds, and mammograms may not be accepted by the insurance carrier. There’s also a focus on “premium” services, such as vascular scans, lab panels, extended office visits, and even going along with patients to specialist visits. Medmo works with both DPC and CM physicians to help them coordinate the best medical imaging solutions for their patients.
Concierge Medicine has been around for many years, while DPC has only become significant over the past five years. In that time, DPC practices have gained significant attention, being included in a provision of the Affordable Care Act, featured on cable news, and recently offered as a recommendation for cost savings by Consumer Reports. Regardless of whichever option patients choose, Concierge Medicine and Direct Primary Care both offer great solutions to current healthcare issues and we look forward to seeing these types of practices growing.
To learn more about DPC click here.
To book a scan, visit us at Medmo.com. Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.