What Is Direct Primary Care And How Can It Help Me?

Posted on: 10 October 2019


Dealing with medical insurance companies is one of the most frustrating aspects of the health care industry. Fortunately, there are alternatives like direct primary care to help make health care make more sense. You might have seen a doctor described as a direct primary care physician and assumed that it was the same thing as a primary care physician or general practitioner. You might be surprised to learn that direct primary care is actually an alternative payment model for patients and doctors. With direct primary care or DPC, you can cut out the frustration of insurance companies altogether.

How It Works

Instead of free-for-service insurance billing, direct primary care allows you the freedom to pay your doctor directly. For a fixed monthly, quarterly, or annual fee, you can cover all the regular costs of your primary care services. The result is typically substantial savings on your healthcare costs. The fee includes access to regular checkups with same-day or next-day appointments, laboratory services, and sometimes even house calls. No insurance company is ever involved.

What About Emergencies?

Direct primary care only covers regular medical services. You will still need to have insurance coverage for emergency room and instant care visits as well as hospital stays. You'll also need it to cover the cost of seeing a specialist, should you need one. Despite this, it can still be cheaper to opt into a direct primary care plan plus an insurance plan for major medical coverage rather than paying for full health insurance coverage.

How Do I Benefit?

Both patients and doctors benefit from this alternative payment plan. As mentioned, the patient benefits by saving money annually. But many patients utilizing the direct primary care system say that the most desirable benefit of the system is easier and more direct access to a doctor. One of the major drawbacks to the medical payment structure as it exists today is that most patients feel rushed through the system because the doctor is trying to see dozens of patients in one day. With direct primary care, a doctor has fewer patients and therefore more care and attention to give to those patients he or she does have.

Doctors benefit by being able to give more attention to a smaller number of patients without being rushed to the next appointment. It also eliminates a lot of the red tape and bureaucracy that doctors offices have to wade through when dealing with insurance companies. It's a win-win situation for both parties.