The average deductible on an employee’s insurance plan has risen 49% since 2011. That means more and more patients are finding themselves with less and less “coverage.” When your deductible rises (in an effort by your employer to control healthcare costs), your out of pocket expenses go up if you use the healthcare system at all. Often along with a higher deductible, come higher copays for specialist visits and sick visits with your primary care doctor. You go from paying very little “out of pocket” to having to cover every expense up to $2000-$6000 or more of what you need each year.
If you’re the average patient, you don’t need that much in one year! You’re never going to meet your out of pocket maximum (i.e. $6000) unless you have a catastrophe - and then, thank goodness you have insurance for the big stuff! But these HDHP's (high deductible healthcare plans) are having you foot the bill for everything else. The problem with that is that when you go to see your PCP for a visit to discuss your thyroid being off, you are being charged the full rate. Your insurance isn’t covering your copay (which we are now seeing upwards of $75 per visit!) and they aren’t covering your co-insurance (the balance of the bill that the doctor has sent them, which can be upwards of $100-300 per visit). You end up paying somewhere between $100-$400 just to see someone when you’re not feeling well. Unfortunately, if you do that four times per year, you’re nowhere closer to meeting your deductible.
Consider an alternative in this era of rising healthcare deductibles….
At Direct Doctors, and other Direct Primary Care practices across the country, we charge patients a fixed, predictable, monthly membership fee with no copays and no surprise bills after the visit. We do not limit the number of visits (in-person or remote) that you can have with your PCP. So if you end up going for four visits a year to your primary care doctor, instead of costing up to $1600, it would only cost you the total yearly membership of $900. That doesn’t even begin to add in the flexibility, convenience, and time savings of avoiding waits, scheduling when you need it, and spending real time with your doctor! Now if you actually do develop a more significant medical condition, your doctor knows you well and can help you get in to the right specialists with personal attention and side-by-side assistance.
It’s time to stop accepting the status quo and start considering how Direct Doctors may be the right answer for your health care woes. Find out more about how we deliver healthcare differently at www.directdoctors.org.
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.