Concierge Medicine - Just for the Wealthy?
A common misconception pervading the conversations, blogs and forums about concierge medicine is that these types of premier practices can only be for the wealthy. It has been said that concierge, or boutique, medicine will surely lead to a 2-tiered medical practice system – one for the wealthy, and one for “the masses”. As time goes on, and as we see the diversity of ways to provide concierge medicine, we are finding that the above is an oversimplification and ultimately not really true.
In fact, there is a certain amount of freedom in concierge medical practices that allows physicians not to be restrictive at all in what types of patients s/he sees. Most traditional practices have to limit the number of Medicare and Medicaid patients they can take because of the poor reimbursement that the physician is forced to accept as a participating provider. In concierge medicine, we can accept an unlimited number of Medicaid or Medicare patients without concern about the reimbursement because the retainer fee is the same for everyone. As long as the flat fee is paid, it doesn’t really matter what insurance the patient has as far as their acceptance into the practice is concerned.
With regard to the affordability of the fee, you have to put it in perspective. What is your health worth? It’s more than just a matter of convenience. The personalized health care, preventive care and wellness benefits obtained from a concierge practice almost certainly add an extra dimension to your life that allows you to live longer with a better quality of life than you would have otherwise. The fee also includes a multitude of medical services. No waiting for appointments or waiting in the exam room. No waiting for a prescription refill. More than that, it gives you peace of mind knowing that you can contact your personal physician anytime you want, and knowing that s/he will provide you with the best medical care available - quickly and efficiently.
For comparison purposes, you may be surprised to know that the cost of a concierge medical membership is about the same as the following:
--2 ½ packs of cigarettes per day
--cable, phone and Internet bill for an average household
--family cell phone bill
--going out to eat once a week
--1/2 of an average car loan payment
--less than 1/3 of a high-end health insurance premium
Putting it all in perspective, how can you afford not to spend a certain amount of your income investing in your health?
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