Is Concierge Medicine Your Answer to Impersonal Healthcare?

Doctor With Patient

Patients pay a premium for premium healthcare. 

By Kevin RR Williams

HEALTH Concierge medicine is a business model where a limited number of patients pay a retainer to belong to a medical practice. This may please those who lack strong relationships with high-quality doctors or who are exasperated by long waits.

Benefits include same- or next-day appointments, more attention from your doctor, more communication by phone, text or email and custom wellness programs. Rates are based on age and coverage options but these are typical fees [1,2]:

    Individual: $1,200 per year; $100 per month
    Couples: $1,800 per year; $150 per month
    Families: $2,400 per year; $200 per month

You may readily notice that membership fees compete with typical health insurance premiums. Hospitalization and surgery costs are often excluded though.

Critics claim that concierge medicine creates ethical problems and violates the Hippocratic oath by creating a new class system in medicine. Supporters point out that concierge physicians are often considered excellent and some patients believe that $150 per month is good value for unfettered access to personalized medical care. [3]

Is Concierge Medicine Viable Solution?

Should small-business employers consider offering concierge medicine to employees as an alternative to higher insurance premiums? Patients with Medicare/Medicaid with a comfortable nest egg might supplement catastrophic hospitalization coverage with concierge care rather than waiting many hours to by seen by on-staff doctors at a public clinic or paying exorbitant health insurance premiums for preferred providers. Will it benefit the self-employed?

The American Medical Association acknowledges concierge care may be a necessary component of health care but adds that if such practices become too widespread, they could "threaten access to care." Do you see concierge medicine as a threat? Does it bring back idealized health care or violate ethics?

References
  1. What is “concierge medicine” and how does it impact you? cnycentral.com ^
  2. Concierge Medicine LA Membership Options. conciergemedicinela.com ^
  3. Concierge medicine has its pros and cons. Concierge Medicine Today, moonfruit.com ^

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