Monday, April 4, 2011
A doctor on retainer?
I read an interesting article in yesterday's Houston Chronicle, about some doctors in the Houston-area who charge their patients an annual fee of $1500-$1800 a year for customized services. At that rate the doctors would receive about $750,000 a year plus what insurance paid for services. This would allow the doctor have a customer base of about 500, instead of the usual one every 15 minutes for 8 hours. This would allow the doctor to make house calls and get to know his patients on a personal level. The lower case load allows the doctor to focus on wellness from weight management to depression.
Would you know it; United Healthcare and Cigna has threaten to throw them out of the network because they disapprove of their so- called " concierge medicine" model. Other insurers like Aetna and Blue Cross Blue Shield are OK with "concierge medicine" as long as the insurers and and doctors know that the retainer fee is not reimbursable.
Jennifer Ahrens, the Texas Dept of insurance's senior associate commissioner for life health and life licensing programs said the doctors who enter into these discounted-fee contracts can only charge payments related co-payments are co-insurance and no additional fees. They are afraid that the doctors want to stop dealing with the insurance companies entirely making patients pay upfront for every visit.... What do you want to bet that the big insurance companies will try to lobby the Texas legislators to make " concierge medicine" illegal?
I can see where it would benefit me and my wife but probably not a young healthy individual or couple.
On a personal note ;it seems like the forum is becoming stale,boring and a dumping ground for bitching,complaining and whining...Maybe it's just me wanting something that might not be achievable ..Like a give and take discussion...Maybe I'm part of the problem..:-)