If you’ve moved recently or had to find a new primary care physician (PCP) for any reason, it might have taken you much longer to get an appointment than expected.
Even getting a regular appointment could take weeks longer than it used to. You’re not imagining it – due to a growing shortage of PCPs, Americans are having to wait significantly longer to see doctors than we used to.
An alternative to long waits at traditional doctors’ offices is concierge medicine, or its cousin, direct primary care (DPC). To access this kind of care, you’ll pay an annual or monthly fee that gets you direct physician access. Each practice will vary, but generally you can expect to receive the following benefits:
- Guaranteed access to care 24/7
- Same-day or next-day appointments
- Coverage of standard care like blood work, preventive screenings, and physicals
- No copays or deductibles for office visits
- More personalized care
- On average, twice as much time with your doctor per visit
It’s crucial to note that there are drawbacks as well. DPC practices typically do not accept insurance and are entirely fee-based, while some concierge systems do accept insurance. You’ll still need regular health insurance to cover hospitalization and specialty referrals. If cash is tight, concierge medicine may not be a good choice – annual fees can run from $1,200 to $10,000. However, if your finances are in a good place, and you want guaranteed access to care, there is a growing number of concierge and DPC providers you can investigate today.
What Is Concierge Medicine? A Complete Guide – Forbes Health
Advantages and Disadvantages of Concierge Medical Care (aarp.org)
Many Doctors are Switching to Concierge Medicine, Exacerbating Physician Shortages – Scientific American