DPC is different from the typical fee-for-service, insurance billing models in that DPC operates like a subscription service. Patients pay a monthly or annual fee to have access to their provider at any time and for almost all services.
Just as you pay a monthly fee to watch your favorite shows on Hulu or Netflix, you pay a subscription service to your provider to cover primary care services.
But what are the actual benefits to a DPC provider?
You don't need costly insurance:
DPC's do not accept health insurance as payment (usually), but even if you do have insurance you can still go to a DPC provider. Whether you have a plan with a big health insurer, a health sharing community, or something in-between, you can still save money and have a better healthcare experience by using a direct primary provider. In many cases, health sharing communities will offer you a discount on your monthly fee if you have a DPC and some employers offer to pay for a DPC as an alternative to health insurance. For those who are unemployed or work part-time, direct primary care is an affordable way to get quality health care despite job status.
2. Price Transparency:
You rarely know the exact cost of a health care service or appointment before going in, which is why the price transparency that comes with DPC is so great! Since you pay a flat rate, you know exactly how much it costs to receive the services your direct primary care provider offers. This makes it easier to budget for other health care expenses, such as medications or surgeries, and relieves a lot of the stress that comes with going to the doctor.
3. Better Health:
Everyone is guilty of putting off making an appointment or ignoring pain because they couldn’t afford the expense. Since you're paying a monthly or yearly fee for direct primary care, there’s never an excuse to not get care when you need it; you’ve already paid for it! Your DPC is also available through online communication portals, texting, phone calls, and video calls, which means you can ask your provider about a medical issue you’ve been having and get a course of treatment almost instantly. Your provider can also advise if you need to come in for an appointment for further evaluation.
4. More Interaction with Your Provider:
One of the best perks of DPC is that your provider has more time to spend with you! Less paperwork and not having to deal with an insurance company frees up your DPC provider to spend enough time with you allowing them to really get to the bottom of a problem. In many cases, our initial appointment will last about an hour so we can set the building blocks for a solid relationship.
Everyone is used to the “standard” system of healthcare: having health insurance with a high deductible (or a low deductible but high monthly payments), busy physicians, and no price transparency.
There is a solution to the broken healthcare system, such as direct primary care. At the very least, you can get a more affordable healthcare option that also improves your overall health.