An increasing number of doctors are ditching insurance companies and working directly with patients. Instead, they are setting up cash-only medical practices where doctors deal directly with patients on financial matters. This immediately shifts the doctor-patient relationship. What doctors have felt is that the main benefit of not billing through an insurance company is that you are no longer working for insurance companies, you work directly for patients.
The cash-only model is known as direct care or direct primary care. Patients pay an annual or monthly fee for access to their doctor and they also get 24/7 access to their doctors, longer office visits, and often same-day appointments. Cash only medical care used to be considered similar bourgeois, designated for the wealthy and medical tourists from richer countries. But now, it makes sense for some low-income families to seek out a direct care center, where an MRI can cost as low as $499, as opposed to the thousands of dollars it would cost in a hospital setting.With only 800 to 1,000 patients — or fewer — direct primary care practices are smaller than typical primary care practices, which may have 2,000 to 3,000 patients.
This allows time during the day for longer office visits — and lets doctors maintain better work-life balance. Longer visits help doctors see the big picture when it comes to their patients’ health. Direct primary care doctors also have more control over how they interact with patients.Quicker care can also keep small problems from turning into larger ones — like a cat scratch becoming a major infection or symptoms of a heart attack or stroke goes untreated. Most important factor of cash-based medical practice is that when you are not billing through insurance companies, doctors can save time they are spending on electronic medical records for billing purpose.
Although direct primary care has less number of patients monthly membership fees and lower overhead charges makes it viable.
The major part of direct primary care is transparency, cash-based medical facilities have listed their pricing on their websites and some facilities even offer inexpensive medication, which puts power back in the hand of consumers.