09 Oct Direct Primary Care is Not an Insurance Plan
One of the lesser-known factors contributing to the rapid increase in the cost of health care is the shrinking number of primary care physicians (PCPs) available relative to the size of the population. Similar to most states, Florida faces a severe primary care shortage. The Robert Graham Center estimates to maintain current rates of primary care utilization, Florida will need “an additional 4,671 primary care physicians by 2030, a 38 % increase compared to the state’s current (as of 2010) 12,228 PCP workforce.”
Current primary care doctors face myriad regulations and a reimbursement system that is slow and costly, creating overhead that can eat up to 60 percent of a typical primary care practice’s revenue. For this reason, many new doctors have chosen to avoid primary care altogether, a phenomenon that has helped to create a shortage of family doctors across the United States. Direct primary care (DPC), also known as “retainer medicine,” is one health care provider model that has become increasingly popular for doctors and patients alike and could serve to revitalize the U.S. primary care system.
Under a direct primary care agreement, patients pay a monthly membership fee, typically ranging from around $50 to $80. As part of the membership, patients receive a more-generous allocation of appointments than they would under most traditional plans. Some agreements even include same-day appointments and house calls.