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  • Rebekah Bernard, MD

What is a Direct Primary Care (DPC) practice?


It's no surprise to most anyone these days that the health care system in the United States is in trouble. Insurance premiums are through the roof, co-pays and deductibles tick ever upwards, and even generic medications that cost $4 at Walmart often require a "prior authorization" for coverage.

As tired as patients are of this nonsense, doctors are even more tired. Not only do we have to jump through hoops to provide the health care that we think is important, but we have to pay a huge percentage of our overhead simply to get paid by insurers and Medicare. To cover that overhead, we have to see more patients, rushing them through the visit to try to squeeze in a few more people per day.

There has to be is a better way, and many doctors think that getting back to a more traditional type of practice, using a model called Direct Primary Care (DPC), is the answer.

DPC eliminates payments by insurance and Medicare, and simply contracts directly with the patient to provide health care. This type of practice lowers the expenses involved in running an office, and therefore allows doctors to be able to charge much lower fees for their services. In fact most DPC practices charge between $50-100 per month and include all essential health care, including doctor visits, basic laboratory services, and office procedures.

Some people refer to DPC as a concierge practice, and there are some similarities. But because DPC practices tend to be much less expensive, some people think of DPC as a type of concierge practice for the working person, rather than just for the wealthy.

While there are many advantages to the physician practicing in a DPC model, there are even more benefits to a patient enrolled in the program. A person with a high deductible health plan, or without any health insurance, will generally save a significant amount of money on doctor visits. Even people with conventional insurance may find benefits to DPC - with longer visits, more access to a doctor, and peace of mind of knowing that their doctor is available when needed.

One caveat: while DPC covers most average medical expenses, it is not the same as insurance. At a minimum, everyone should have catastrophic health care coverage in the event of a major medical illness such as hospitalization or surgery. These plans have higher deductibles but are much less expensive than traditional health insurance.

For more information, please visit www.GulfCoastDPC.com, or call 239-322-3860 for details on joining a DPC practice in the Fort Myers-Estero area.

#DPC #Insurance

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