About a month ago, I wrote a blog on the benefits that employers can gain from offering a membership to a direct primary care practice to their employees. Today, I'd like to highlight the benefits seen directly by the employees. When health care benefits through employers started in the 1940’s, they were meant to help attract and retain good workers (and because of a law that provided large tax deductions to those employers). Back when health care costs were low and many employees remained at the same company for their entire career, this worked quite well. As costs began to rise, however, these “benefits” have actually become a source of financial stagnation for many employees.
Currently, many employees are now finding that they are missing out on raises and bonuses due to the fact that their employer has to cover the ever increasing cost of their health insurance. For many young and healthy employees, this means that their employer might be spending thousands of dollars on health insurance that they never use. For older, or more chronically sick employees, having much of their insurance premiums covered by their employer is great. However, because costs have increased so much, they are seeing deductibles so high that they end up spending much of their own money on health care anyway. Finally, as I’ve noted in other blogs previously, having health insurance (whether through an employee, the government or paid individually) does not provide access to health care. Many employees have health insurance through their employer, but cannot get in to see a primary care doctor. And if they do, they often spend only 10 minutes at a time and have no personal relationship with that physician.
Now, contrast this with the actual benefit of a direct primary care membership. What if your employer instead provided you the benefit of full scope, comprehensive primary care in which you have direct access to a doctor whenever you need it? Imagine having a busy work schedule and an important upcoming deadline. You’re sick with a head cold or stomach bug, or you cut your hand frantically getting the kids out the door in the morning. You could call your traditional PCP, maybe get an appointment in a day or two at best, wait an hour in the waiting room for a 5 minute visit with a doctor/nurse you’ve never met and knows nothing about you. Or, since experience has taught you that this experience is so painful, and you have so much work to do, you put it off until you feel so bad that you end up at an urgent care or ER which costs you a ton of money. Instead, what if you could call/text/email your doctor for recommendations from your office? Or get in to see them that morning to stitch up your laceration? Or better yet, maybe many of your fellow employees also use that doctor so there is a clinic set up right at your office and you don’t even have to leave to be seen and get expert medical advice!
While that sounds too good to be true, it really isn’t. It’s happening all over the country and many companies are expanding their employee numbers at direct primary care practices. The best part is that because primary care (along with wholesale labs and meds) are now carved out of traditional health insurance, your employer's premiums are reduced and overall health care costs to the company go down! The more employees in your company that utilize direct primary care, the greater the savings to your employer, which eventually trickle down to the employee in the form of raises, bonuses, etc. If you think that Direct Primary Care could benefit you and/or your employer, please share this article with them. We’d love the opportunity to sit down and discuss how our practice can benefit both local companies and their hardworking employees!
Lauren Hedde, DO and Mark Turshen, MD are Family Physicians and Founders of Direct Doctors, Inc. a Direct Primary Care Practice.