DETROIT, MI | JULY 12, 2013 – The TV show “Royal Pains” is about a concierge medical service called Hankmed that is playing out in real life today.
Doctors are converting to cash-only and concierge practices at a steady pace. Eliminating the time and expense of handling insurance and complying with government mandates, doctors are free to concentrate on patient care at lower cost.
This is the free market showing what the health-care industry should look like. Buying a low-cost, high-deductible policy for emergencies and contributing to a tax-deductible health savings account to pay cash for routine care is a viable plan.
If you’re self-employed and buy your own insurance, add up what you spent last year for insurance, deductibles and co-pays. Use part of it for a high-deductible policy. Put some or all of the rest into your health savings account.
Employers can switch from traditional to high-deductible plans. Your former insurance contributions go into your health savings account. It works. I’ve done it. It worked even when I was paying cash at rates inflated by insurance.
Today, an insurance-paid $90 cholesterol test is $3 cash at one practice. A $125 office visit is $49 at another. One doctor charges $100 for a house call.
Pay a $100 co-pay for an EKG or $25 cash at another clinic. Pay a $10 co-pay for a 90-day supply of generic blood-pressure medicine Antenolol or $5.69 cash at Costco.
Free markets are great problem-solvers if government would just get out of the way.