Employers are experimenting with a primary healthcare option that is providing patients with better care, providers with lower risk, and everyone with cost-savings. It’s a high claim but it’s called Direct Primary Care (DPC)- an information-age take against the traditional fee-for-service payment method.
The system is gradually gaining momentum across the United States as the healthcare industry toys with the idea of value-based care. DPC is essentially the Netflix of primary care; By opting-in to DPC, patients pay a flat monthly fee to a provider which covers all primary care services. No insurance claims. No co-pays. Just care.
Employers have begun examining the benefits of DPC as it pertains to price competition. Instead of fighting privatized healthcare, DPC embraces the free market concept by letting providers set rates, instead of insurance companies. This is attractive to employers because providers must use price competition and results to gain routine patronage from large companies.
Employers can spend as much as 82% of the healthcare costs for their employees, which can get very costly very quickly. Most spending is related to high-cost long-term care and specialty medications. The DPC concept encourages patients to use what they pay for and maintain a regular relationship with their primary care physician, ultimately enforcing better monitoring of employee health. This leads to better preventative care, early diagnosis, and simplified treatments which saves employers and employees from high cost health.
The costs DPC are on-average only $77 per patient per month- that’s less than $1000 per year. To put that in perspective, the Health Care Cost Institute found that median spending a visit to an emergency room in 2016 was $1,917… per visit. In a comparison of one ER visit per year per patient versus unlimited DPC , an employer with a base of 5,000 employees would see roughly a $5 million difference in costs. Also, because nothing is filed through insurance, DPC can become a cost saving substitute for employer insurance plans that do not cover primary care.
There are still many companies without access to the benefits of DPC because of the limited number of practices involved. However, recent growth in DPC physicians has expanded access to 36 states; There are as many as 30 practices in the state of North Carolina. Click here to find a DPC clinic near you. Or click here to learn more about DPC benefits.