In the medical world, we have become accustomed to unknown costs, high premiums, and an ever-growing divide between those that have health insurance and those that do not. The current United States healthcare system was established around the idea that everyone has some form of health insurance. What happens when health insurance becomes more expensive than the actual care that is provided?
We look back forty years ago and insurance was great! Low premiums, no such thing as co-pays, and deductibles were not in the multiple thousands however, today’s insurance isn’t your grandpa’s plan anymore.
What Happened and How did we get here?
Thanks to years of mergers and acquisitions in healthcare we now have a few companies controlling a majority of the industry. Health insurance companies profit from limiting reimbursements to providers and denying care (even if it is against the law) and continuing to make record profits each year. These industries have caused a decline in overall access to healthcare which has created horrible outcomes for those who are needing medical attention.
Many smaller local providers are choosing to not participate with insurance networks because the proposed reimbursement rates would cause them to go out of business. So, what other options does a local provider or smaller healthcare system have other than working in a system that barely covers their operating cost? This system has put a financial strain on many medical offices and companies. Nearly to the point of putting them out of business and some on the brink of bankruptcy. It has left healthcare providers and patients looking for a better option.
So What Is The Solution?
On May 28th, 2015 a new model was allowed in the state of Texas called Direct Primary Care. This model allowed for patients to directly contract with their healthcare provider in the form of a membership. Direct Primary Care (DPC) operates like that of a gym membership where members pay one monthly fee set by their provider for medical services they provide. With this membership, there are no deductibles, co-pays, or hidden costs for the services offered by that provider. Since its birth, this model has been widely adopted by many physicians and has allowed them to take control of the cost of care for their patients. They are finally able to work directly with their patients in a sustainable financial model that greatly benefits the patient. It has been proven that DPC leads to better outcomes for the patient simply because the provider now is not having to see 1,000s of patients to barely keep the lights on. When you join a DPC practice you spend on average 45 mins with the provider and instead of 5 mins in the traditional insurance model.
Why isn't everyone doing this you may ask?
Like any innovation, it takes time for the public to adapt to it or even hear about it. Our mission at Cage Free Care is to promote this innovative model in our marketplace and to help connect patients with the healthcare they need. By working with local providers we help promote providers’ direct primary care memberships. We work with primary care offices, urgent care, emergency rooms, and local hospitals to offer their services directly to the public. With these memberships, patients now have affordable direct healthcare solutions to choose from!
What do these memberships include and how much do they cost?
In Austin Texas, we partnered with the Family Hospital Systems to manage their Direct Primary Care memberships. These memberships provide all-inclusive services such as 24/7 telemedicine, unlimited primary care visits, blood work, and testing, imaging, and a set amount of annual emergency room visits.
With the membership starting as low as $60/m for individuals and as high as $350/m for the family!