Published January 19, 2016 by Tracy Stewart, CPA, PLLC.
How would you like to get a $10,000 raise? I did by changing my health care provider and health insurance. Despite my good health, my health insurance premium was going up by 40% in 2016. My combined new premium plus my deductible would take my costs up to $13,000 a year. That’s if I don’t get really sick but I use my entire deductible.
I looked into other health insurance companies. I ran into even higher premiums and a few smarmy health insurance sales people. The latter were eager to take my money in exchange for shockingly sparse information about their health insurance policy coverage. I was supposed to sign up before I knew any details about the coverage.
Disgusted with this experience, I started to think outside the box. I did some research and learned about Direct Primary Care. Twenty years ago Direct Primary Care was known as concierge medicine for the wealthy. Since then it has become affordable for real people like you and me. Direct Primary Care has three big advantages over traditional health care arrangements: more access to care, more personalized care and more affordable care. Intrigued, through one of my colleagues, I found one such doctor here in town: Dr. John Davidhizar at MyMDbcs. Her opinion of Dr. John is simply “he is wonderful.”
Direct Primary Care provides more access to care because Dr. John guarantees that I can see him the same day or the next business day. I tested it and it works. I don’t have to wait in the waiting room with sick patients and I get at least thirty minutes with him. My prior doctor was great, but if I had a question or concern, I had to make an appointment a month or more in advance and pay about $70 to see him for ten minutes. Now if I have a health question, I can text Dr. John. I tested this one Saturday when I dropped a pointy pair of rose clippers on my forehead. I sent him a photo of my boo-boo. He determined that it was safe to give me advice remotely. I just needed a butterfly bandage. His reassurance calmed my fears.
If I land in any of the four local hospitals, he will include me in his daily rounds. He will make sure I know what is going on, what the test results are, what they mean and what is being done for me. He is a liason between his patients and their specialists. I have to admit that I haven’t yet tested this part of his service. And even if I don’t land in the hospital, I can keep my specialist doctors.
Dr. John provides more personalized care because he can spend more time with me. My first appointment with him was one hour and 40 minutes. He went over every aspect of my health, learning about me, offering advice and answering all my questions. Since Dr. John has a smaller number of patients, he has more time to spend with each patient.
Direct Primary Care offers more affordable care by having a membership arrangement. Dr. John’s patients pay a membership fee instead of paying for each visit. My membership fee is subsidized down to $40 per month because I now belong to Liberty Health Share. Health share companies are growing in popularity. They are not health insurance but are written into the Affordable Care Act. My membership in a health share plan enables me to be exempted from the requirement to have a qualified health plan or pay a penalty. My monthly fee for Liberty Health Share is $200 per month. I cover my first $500 health care cost per year. Above that, my health share company covers my costs. Compare all this to my prior monthly health insurance premium of $825 and a $2,800 deductible. I am saving about $10,000 a year while getting terrific heath care. Direct Primary Care patients do not have to give up their existing health insurance policies. You can keep that and still get Dr. John to be your primary care doctor. I chose to switch from my health insurance to the health sharing arrangement due to the large cost savings.
Being a CPA, I wondered how Dr. John affords to give this kind of service. I did some mental math, estimating how many patients he needs to have to keep his practice going. He openly discussed his business plan with me. I am satisfied that he can grow his practice, provide for his family and be my doctor for years to come. You might not see the same large financial savings that I have, but if you would like more access to care, more personalized care and more affordable care look into Direct Patient Care.
About Tracy Stewart
Tracy Stewart, CPA, PFS, CFF, CFP®, CDFA focuses exclusively on divorce financial consulting in College Station, Texas. Contact her at (979) 324-8179, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her Website at www.tracystewartcpa.com.