Both primary and direct primary care physicians are medical professionals who tend to most of your health needs, including annual exams and any of your health and wellness concerns.
The key difference is that primary care doctors take insurance, while direct primary care physicians use the Direct Primary Care (DPC) model. Instead of taking insurance, DPC practices have a monthly subscription that gives you direct access to a physician for your health care needs, including but not limited to:
Here are 3 key reasons why you should choose a direct primary care physician.
1. Better Access = Better Care
On average, Americans wait 24 days to see their primary care physician. In Boston, it’s even worse. According to Boston Magazine, “a new patient in Boston should expect to wait more than 52 days before seeing a doctor.”
Instead of waiting nearly two months—while still paying for health insurance, mind you—your other option is to go to the emergency room. Without health insurance, a simple visit to urgent care without any vaccination, procedure, or medication can range anywhere from $75 to $250. With insurance, your co-pay or urgent care is usually between $50-$150. If you haven’t met your deductible, it may cost more.
If your visit isn’t to tend to a simple need, then cross your fingers, because medical bills can easily cost thousands of dollars or more!
Instead of taking a trip to the ER they potentially can’t afford, some Americans will try to ignore their pain until they can see their doctor. Not only is that inhumane, it can also be incredibly dangerous.
No one should have to live like that.
Care Under the DPC Model
With a direct primary care physician, you have direct access to your physician. You can book an appointment and usually be seen on the same day. You can also meet with them via Zoom or over the phone. Your phone and Zoom calls, physical visits, and co-pays are already covered in your monthly fee.
Because DPC patients don’t have to wait for care, they frequently live healthier lives. According to Qliance Medical Management, Inc., patients enrolled in a DPC program have on average:
- 59% fewer ER visits
- 80% fewer surgeries
- 62% fewer references to specialists
- Spend 30% fewer days admitted in a hospital
Any one of the statistics listed above should be more than enough reason to choose a direct primary care physician.
2. The DPC Model Can Save You Money
If you’re self-employed, unemployed, or work part-time and don’t have a spouse with a healthcare plan, direct primary care is a cost-effective way to get the quality care you deserve.
In 2020, the average national cost for an individual health insurance plan was $456, or $5,472/yr. The average national wage in 2020 was $55,628.60. In other words, if you have the average healthcare plan while making the average national wage in 2020, you’d spend 9.84% of your gross income on health insurance (assuming your company doesn’t cover any of it).
Comparatively, the average cost of a DPC membership ranges from $50 to $150 per month, depending on the location and offerings of the practice. Even at $150/mo or $1,800/yr, you’re spending less than a third of what the average health insurance plan costs.
Savings for Chronic Diseases and Lab Work
Roughly 60% of US adults have a chronic disease, and 40% have two or more. Chronic diseases are the leading drivers of our $4.1 trillion annual health care costs. Yes, trillion.
Most DPC memberships, including a membership with Boston Direct Health, cover preventative care for chronic medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and mental health concerns.
Our patients also save an average of 90% on labs. Routine diabetes lab work costs $37, as opposed to $200-$300. Typical labs ordered for a 40-year-old cost approximately $1,500 every year. At BDH, the amount is reduced to $137. That difference in cost covers most of your yearly membership!
Health coverage shouldn’t feel like a game of roulette, so why does it feel that way so often? If you need a routine procedure, you shouldn’t have to wonder if your insurance will cover all the costs, or if your medical bill will be in the thousands.
With the DPC model, you’re paying a flat rate, so you’ll know exactly how much a procedure will cost. If your direct primary care physician offers an additional service, like a functional medicine consultation, they should be able to tell you exactly how much it will cost, so you can budget accordingly.
3. You Get More Time With Your Physician
Here’s the average amount of time US primary care physicians spent with their patients in 2018:
- 25 minutes or more – 11%
- 17-24 minutes – 33%
- 13-16 minutes – 29%
- 9-12 minutes – 22%
- 9 minutes or less – 5%
62% of patients only receive 13-24 minutes of interaction with their primary care physician. That’s not a lot of time to talk about your medical history, mental health, current ailments, etc.
A study by the American Medical Association following 57 US physicians in internal medicine, family medicine, orthopedics, and cardiology found that physicians spent 27% of their time seeing patients and 49.2% of their time doing paperwork.
For your first visit at Boston Direct Health, you get a full hour with our physicians—and none of that time is interrupted by insurance paperwork. That time is spent developing the physician-patient relationship. Our physicians take that time to get to know your medical needs and wellness goals. We enjoy strong relationships with your patients, and can advise you on a variety of subjects, such as nutritional counseling, preventative care, aesthetics, and whatever else you need to live an optimized life.
There’s no putting a price on that level of care.