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VEGAS: MedLion, $59 per month, patients get access to a primary care physician

As individuals and businesses grapple with how they will meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act that kick in next year, Dr. Samir Qamar wants MedLion to be one of the options.

By Tovin Lapan

APRIL 19, 2013 — An estimated 55 million people in the United States are uninsured, and starting in 2014 many of them will be required to carry health insurance. Larger employers will start facing penalties if they do not offer coverage to their employees.

Exhibiting a good sense for timing, Qamar opened the first Las Vegas branch of his direct primary care service in March. The doctor, who originally started the company in California, is hoping the system gives patients better access to a physician and serves as an affordable alternative to traditional insurance.

At MedLion there is no insurance. Patients pay a monthly subscription and each visit costs $10. Qamar has negotiated discounted prices with labs, clinics, pharmacies and others that offer services that his patients will have to pay for out-of-pocket.

“The traditional medical practice model, which is a fee-for-service model, is flawed,” Qamar said sitting in his Summerlin office, which doubles as his exam room. “It’s flawed because you have to charge the patients ‘x’ amount several times over the course of the day to break even with your office overhead, which can be very high, and to make a profit. That number is about 30 patients a day.”

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