The rich often do not have the same propensity to rely on public health systems, at least not in the same ways that the general population does. This is because healthcare institutions all around the world are increasingly under pressure.
Instead, the rich are more capable of and ready to pay for a higher care grade, even if it is not necessarily extraordinary. This trend is expected to continue. This type of service is referred to as concierge healthcare.
Four fundamental models that comprise concierge medicine
The simplest straightforward expression of this concept is “travel medical support.” An illustration of this would be the phone number printed on the reverse side of your American Express Black card, which connects you to an operator who can assist you with aeromedical evacuations and provide you access to a database of hospitals and doctors in other countries.
A different kind is known as “Private health advisory,” which provides additional services in addition to those already offered, such as access to second views, electronic medical records, complete and tailored physical exams, and assistance with treating complex diseases.
The “private physician practice” is a third possible variant. This entails hiring a physician on an annual retainer basis to ensure prompt callbacks and a greater degree of personal involvement.
The “complete care platform” refers to the most all-encompassing type of concierge medical care available. It is the Rolls Royce model of medical care. It incorporates all of the services that have already been mentioned and various extra services such as personalized medical contingency plans and calendared longevity plans.
The most compelling and perceptible extra service these concierge healthcare providers offer is instant telediagnosis and treatment, which may be used for normal and emergencies.
What does “concierge medicine” mean?
Concierge medicine, also recognized as concierge services, boutique healthcare, retainer-based pharmaceutics, platinum practice, and direct primary care, is a membership-based form of healthcare that combines complete, individualized care with ease of access.
You pay one low monthly rate, which entitles you to unlimited in-person and telehealth appointments that may continue for as long as you require and immediate treatment from a doctor without worrying about copays or additional costs.
You will also have access to the direct phone system of your doctor for medical issues, as well as basic diagnostic and blood tests that may be performed at the doctor’s office. And if you have a significant health issue, your primary care physician will manage referrals to specialists and hospital treatment for you as necessary.
With concierge medicine, there is no interference from health insurance companies or the corporate health care system. Instead, there is only the doctor and the patient.
Primary Care Concierge Practices vs. the More Common Primary Care Practices
A typical primary care physician requires a new patient to wait an average of twenty-four days before scheduling an appointment with them in a large metropolitan region.
The standard procedure for seeing a primary care physician is one that most people are already acquainted with. After waiting weeks for availability, you go in for some basic screens and tests, and then you wait days or weeks for the findings to be posted to an online portal. You could get the opportunity to discuss your results with a physician over the phone if you’re lucky.
Conversely, the concierge medical model focuses more on the overall patient experience quality. In most cases, the number of patients on a physician’s panel does not exceed 600 when the practitioner participates in concierge or direct primary care.
Every day, they visit anything from six to ten patients and spend at least half an hour with each one. Patients can schedule appointments for the same or the next day, have easier access to more sophisticated tests and screenings, and spend the necessary time with their doctor to discuss the results and establish a specific treatment plan.
Is There Coverage For It Through Insurance?
A personal contribution must pay the flat monthly price for direct primary care or essential concierge services. Depending on the special care you need, you may be responsible for additional payments for services such as executive health evaluations or outside lab work. If the physician is designated an out-of-network practitioner by your health insurance carrier, the company may pay you for some of these fees.
You will still require insurance if you require hospitalization or a specialist referral, as concierge care is not an insurance replacement. However, given that your membership provides coverage for preventative care, you may want to think about switching to a health plan with a higher “deductible” to reduce your out-of-pocket costs. Get in touch with the benefits representative for your employer or the customer service department of your health insurance provider to find out what expenses can be paid from your health savings account (HSA).
How to Determine whether Concierge Medical Care Is the Best Option for You
There are significant differences between the various types of concierge medical practices. If you are thinking about using a kind of concierge medicine, you need to determine which services are most essential to you and then ask yourself the following questions:
- Can I afford an additional monthly charge on top of the premium I am already paying for the insurance?
- How crucial is it to have immediate access to a doctor around the clock?
- Do I need to see a specialist since I have any chronic conditions? If that’s the case, would the additional cost of concierge care be worth it?
Where to Look for a Concierge Physician
To get started, do a quick search on the internet. If you search for “concierge physicians near me,” you will most likely get many results to choose from. Before making a final choice, it is a good idea to look at the websites of other practices, set up appointments for free consultations, and inquire about the methods they use in their practices.
You could also check with the people closest to you to see whether any of their friends or family members are members of a concierge medical service. Inquire about their experiences and determine whether or not they would suggest the practice they now utilize.