March 5, 2014 – Lee Gross, MD and Co-Founder of Epiphany Health in Florida, compares today’s healthcare to “filing a home insurance claim every time you have your neighbor’s kid mow your lawn.” In other words, we use health insurance to pay for routine, basic health maintenance. In addition to increasingly burdensome general regulations, Americans are becoming accustomed to using expensive insurance to cover anything large — or small, like a cold or cut. Obviously, if we were to file a home insurance claim for similarly routine home maintenance, we would see home insurance costs skyrocket, too, as health insurance costs have done.
Dr. Gross’s solution is simple: separate completely how we pay for basic health maintenance from insurance-based care, which covers chronic, catastrophic and palliative care. By nature these are more expensive and longer lasting, and should be grouped separately.
Separating, or “unbundling” these two categories of care may require a psychological shift in how Americans view paying for healthcare. We are not typically aware of how much medical care — from prescription pills to CAT scans, actually cost. But Gross’s Epiphany Health delivers affordable, primary care for approximately the cost of monthly service for an iPhone.
- He calls it “concierge care for the little guy.”
Concierge care is similar to a phone plan, in fact. For one monthly service fee, patients are entitled to a wide variety of services, including: no copays or deductibles, all primary care needs, including 25 office visits per year, annual physicals, pap tests, mammograms, thyroid-, prostate- and colorectal screenings, routine labs, sutures, skin surgeries, vaccines, and much, much more.
It is not unusual for patients to save an entire year’s cost of Epiphany services with one procedure done in Dr. Gross’s office, over having it done in a conventional doctor’s office or hospital.
A long-standing myth is that Concierge medical care is only for the wealthy. Epiphany Health is one of many alternative practice models that is turning this myth on its head. “I noticed that my Medicare patients pretty much all had iPhones,” says Dr. Gross. Like personal smartphones, accessible, affordable healthcare is not only for the rich elite.