Concierge medicine, also called retainer medicine, is something a lot of people do not really think about. Considering the importance of overall health, however, not having one is actually a bad decision. In fact, you will find that having retainer medicine is usually more useful than having health insurance.
What Is It?
Simply put, concierge medicine is a type of commitment between the doctor and his patient. The patient pays an annual fee in which case, the doctor offers his expertise on a regular basis – usually performing check-ups and coming over for visits to ascertain the health of the patient. Concierge medicine usually varies in the scope of the service, but each one involves a single primary physician concerned with the overall health of their patient.
What Are The Benefits Of Concierge Medicine?
From the description alone, it is easy to see exactly why concierge medicine is a favored choice for many. You will note though that once you make use of this type of service, you will be getting the following benefits as well:
• Patients are given more time by the doctor. Unlike assembly line medicine wherein doctors try to see as many patients at once, concierge doctors typically limit the number of their patients. This gives them the chance to provide a higher quality of medical care to the individual.
• Concierge care also means that the doctor becomes more aware of your medical history. This puts them in a better position when it comes to prescribing medications or providing suggestions on your health lifestyle.
• Like insurance, retainer medicine is often privy to customization. For example, some doctors include in-office check-ups as part of the retainer fee while others may ask for a separate payment. Make sure to ask your doctor about this beforehand before committing to a general physician.
• Patients of concierge doctors are often encouraged to call whenever they need medical advice. This is part and parcel of the service, ensuring that someone will be present in the event of medical emergencies.
• When confined in the hospital, a primary care physician may extend help on their patient therefore decreasing the amount of time one may spend confined.
• Primary care concierge physicians often operate alone, but that does not mean they do not have a network of contacts. In the event of problems, they are capable of getting in touch with special practice physicians and refer your case to people they know could handle it best. Like a lawyer, your concierge physician is also in the position to explain and elaborate on different medical situations, often conferring with a specialized doctor regarding your case.
• Concierge doctors may also include diagnostic operations as part of their fee. More often than not, their clinic houses different equipment to analyze patients and determine the status of their health more accurately.
• The patients are able to maintain a very high level of privacy. This is especially valuable for patients who want to keep the fact of a medical procedure confidential. For example, many doctors provide house-call services for things like botox and in some instances can even provide minor plastic surgery procedures, such as filler injections.
• An added perk of concierge physicians is that this gives patients the freedom to call on them when they notice the slightest of symptoms. With direct care, patients often wait until the symptoms can no longer be ignored before visiting their doctor. This is a bad decision since at this point; the condition may already be reaching its chronic stage. That being said, concierge medicine is often more concerned about the prevention of health problems rather than curing what is already there.
• Most of all – concierge medicine gives you the chance to really get to know and develop trust with your doctor. This is crucial considering the seriousness of maintaining proper health during your productive years. With excellent relationship with your doctor, you will be able to rest easy knowing you are getting the best of care from the person you trust.
• Insurance usually does not cover basic health concerns – hence the need for a primary care physician. You will find that in the long run, this method of medical care is actually cheaper and more health-friendly.
How It Works
Retainer medicine is usually a private contract between you and your doctor with no third party involved. Hence, there is really no insurance utilized for the process and so far, there is very little to suggest that insurance would cover the cost of concierge medical service. That being said, the cost of the service is usually out of pocket, averaging to around $15,000 annually.
Note that concierge medicine is not a substitute for health insurance. Both manage to perform different functions to better serve people on their health needs.