Think you’re pay too much for medical tests? You’re probably right. That’s the word from Michael Tetreault, Editor-in-Chief of Concierge Medicine Today, a news agency and trade journal that reports on Concierge Medicine ( a type of medical care practice in which the patient pays a set fee for all primary care services). A recent white paper authored by Tetreault examined how doctors negotiated labs costs to a fraction of what they cost when covered by the insurance industry. Concierge doctors looking to add value to their practices often offer menu-style lists with price lists for healthcare services such as blood tests and imaging services that frequently cut costs drastically.
Concierge medicine used to be a bastion for the wealthy, but it’s going blue-collar as a growing number of doctors are moving into membership-based practices that charge on average from $50 a month and up. For physicians, Concierge medicine offers more time to work with individual patients, lower case loads and less insurance paperwork (some still take some insurance patients).
According to the Wall Street Journal, eliminating insurance billing cuts 40 percent of the practices’ overhead expenses. They often cut charges by eliminating insurance companies from the equation altogether. In addition, labs often offer Concierge doctors better prices because they don’t have to deal with insurance companies. Take for instance a General Health Screen. That test looks at Complete Blood Count (CBC), Thyroid, Liver Kidney and glucose levels. One Concierge doctor, Tetreault quotes, says that even with markup, her office charges $35 for that test but patients are regularly charged more than $200 elsewhere.
As employers switch to high deductible health plans, Concierge medicine offers the health care consumer a way to take back their own care options and kick insurance plans and the government out of their private lives.
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