Yes, definitely. We believe that good primary care, especially by a family medicine doctor, can take care of over 85% of the medical needs that may come up over a patient’s lifetime. However, that still leaves some medical needs that are not “covered” by your Direct Doctors membership (surgeries, hospitalizations, rare disease treatments, etc). Luckily, these are few and far between, and some people may go their whole lifetime without needing any! In fact, CDC data from 2014 shows that only 7.3% of Americans required a hospitalization during that year, and that number is somewhat skewed by the over 65 population which had twice the rates of any other age group. And frankly, many of the younger patients who did end up in the ER and hospitalized likely had poor access to good primary care services.
Given the potential need for other services, and the current tax implications of not having insurance, we always recommend that patients have insurance (or something similar) in addition to their Direct Doctors membership. For lifestyle modification counseling, preventive screenings, regular day to day ailments, chronic disease management, acute injuries and so on, you have direct access to your Direct Doctors physician to handle all of those needs. In the event that you do need much more specialized care, or treatment for a catastrophic injury or illness, your insurance is there to assist with that.
A membership with Direct Doctors works very well for those with high deductible plans as we’ve discussed in other blogs, and many patients save money by switching their primary care services to Direct Doctors. Some patients choose to pay for medications, labs and imaging without using insurance as this often saves them money depending on their plan. As the health care climate changes, there may be more true “catastrophic” plans available to folks with lower premiums. We often talk with our patients about their options, what works best with their health and financial status, and we’d love to do that for you as well.
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.