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Direct Primary Care vs. Concierge Medicine: Is there a difference?

     Insurance rates are getting higher while doctor visits are getting shorter. Feeling like nothing more than a number is driving people to seek out alternative options for their health care. Direct primary care and concierge medicine are popular choices. They both have better access to physicians, same or next day appointments and improved relationships with providers and staff… so are they the same thing??

The short answer is “no”.  Direct primary care and concierge medicine have some similarities but are not the same model of care. For a more detailed answer, the differences between the 2 really comes down to cost and billing, which we will review.

First, let’s discuss the cost. Direct primary care, on average, charges $77/month for their membership fee. Concierge Medicine, on average, charges closer to $183 per month for their services.

Now, let’s look at the billing differences. Direct primary care does not bill insurance for any reason. It is not obligated to follow the stringent guidelines set forth by the insurance companies (which do not actually improve health care but do require more “box ticking” and required office visits for patients). Concierge medicine, while charging a monthly membership fee, also bills insurance companies and Medicare for its services. This may result in additional visits to the office for patients so the clinic may remain compliant within the guidelines set forth by the companies they are contracted with.

Listen, both models have their pros and cons. Deciding on your healthcare is a personal choice. However, if you are on the fence or just don’t feel all your questions were answered, please make an appointment to come down and have a chat with one of our providers. We’d love to hear from you.

-Brooke Rieth NP

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