BUSINESS: Why more people are paying attention to concierge health services

By Belinda Hu

Concierge Health-

Why more people are paying attention to concierge health services

Concierge health services are not exactly a new idea but these are becoming more popular. This term has come to mean different things to different people but is now being used to describe alternative methods of delivering health care services by physicians.

Healthcare in the United States today

It’s no secret that healthcare costs in the U.S. have risen dramatically over the last few decades. At the same time, the entire system has become more complex and confusing for the average person. People find that they are exposed to more time with people filling out electronic health information systems and far less time spent with their physician on a one-to-one basis. Appointments are often rushed, even after the person has spent an hour or more in the waiting room. People often feel shortchanged not only because of the time factor but the cost.

Patients also find that it is harder to get an appointment than ever before. Getting an appointment for a sudden illness often requires the patient to use urgent care instead of the regular physician. Getting an appointment for something like a regular checkup may put the patient out by many months.

Premiums for insurance coverage have climbed substantially. The new healthcare laws do little to reassure people and most are upset by the changes for one reason or another. Many see these changes as a tax burden to the public but a gift to the insurance companies. At the same time, people can find themselves in situations in which coverage is not adequate.

Why doctors are unhappy

Doctors do not like the current arrangement any more than patients do. Doctors often want to spend more time with individual patients but find themselves overbooked. Instead of seeing a handful of patients each day, doctors may see many times that amount.

Another problem that doctors have is with insurance. Accepting insurance means higher operating costs for the physician as a business. There are additional employees that need to be hired to handle insurance forms. Insurance always takes longer to pay than when patients pay cash. And sometimes claims are denied which can result in months of paperwork and wrangling or no payment at all.

Where concierge medicine fits in

Concierge medicine allows physicians to provide care without dealing with insurance. Patients pay a set fee each year for a specific number of services. This allows them better access to their doctor as doctors see fewer patients. Many doctors are changing their practices so that they only accept patients that pay cash. While this is not a solution for everyone, it can be workable for many people.




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