It seems like medical care costs rise at the same rate that insurancecoverage falls. So, why would anyone pay extra to have their own doctor? The fact is that thousands have been going to “private doctors”—conciergedoctors—for decades.
A concierge doctor charges a monthlyor annual fee to have you as a patient. The idea is that a physician hashundreds instead of thousands of patients. This way, they can spend qualitytime getting to know you and your health. Also, appointments aren’t bookedmonths in advance, they’re usually available the next day or even sooner—andsometimes even as house calls. Concierge doctors are not just generalpractitioners, either. There are specialists from women’s healthcare tocardiologists.
A patient who uses a conciergedoctor can expect better and more frequent communication than they might beused to from a physician’s office. Many include nutrition counseling and healthcoaching as part of the plan. You might find that there’s a concierge doctorcloser to you than your current physician, too. In the Sarasota area, forexample, there are concierge doctors on the keys.
A quick look at concierge practicessuggests that many are offering HRT (hormone replacement therapy) in a ratheraggressive fashion. Others are selling supplements via their own website oraffiliate commission websites. Also, while you will be signing up for aspecific doctor, much of your contact might be with a health coach, nursepractitioner, or physician assistant.
What About Insurance?
Some concierge practices acceptMedicare and other insurance, but this does not suggest that you could orshould cancel health insurance if you switch to this type of physician. Mostconcierge doctors are general practitioners who will still need to refer you tospecialists as needed.
A concierge medicine plan is likelyto cost between $125 and $200 a month. So, this option is no longer limited tothe extremely wealthy—but it should be considered an extra expense. As with anydecision on spending, it’s important to weigh the benefits and the costs. And,since would be an ongoing expense, it’s always best to discuss the idea withyour financial advisor to understand any (in health terms) long-term effects.
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