By Jason Whitely, WFAA
DALLAS, TX | December 11, 2014 — Skepticism often walks through the doors to see this doctor.
“It’s because we’ve taken out all the middle. We’ve taken out all the mark-up. It’s wholesale medicine,” said Dr. James Pinckney, founder & CEO of Diamond Physicians.
The 32-year-old is among a growing number of doctors who no longer accept health insurance.
Instead, they charge clients like Gregg Bartus monthly fees. He pays $200 for unlimited visits and procedures without any co-pay.
“I’m one of the first people to sign up on the exchange. I was looking forward to getting insurance,” Bartus said.
He did purchase a policy through Healthcare.gov last year, but ended up at Pinckney’s office because he couldn’t find a doctor on his plan that accepted new patients.
“I just gave up after a while,” Bartus said.
Dr. James Pinckney doesn’t accept insurance; instead, his patients pay him directly for services that often cost less than an insurance policy. Jason Whitely / WFAA
“Concierge medicine,” as it’s known, isn’t a new concept. But Pinckney’s practice is growing so quickly he’s opening an office in Frisco and plans to franchise Diamond Physicians next year.
News 8 asked if he considers himself better at medicine… or business.
“I think I’m a pretty good doctor,” Pinckney said. “Most doctors are not very good businessmen.”
He makes money on membership fees rather than mark-ups. Those fees range from $95 to $295 a month, depending on a patient’s age.
Pinckney then pays other providers cash for common tests. For example:
- MRIs cost about $4,000, but his patients pay $400
- CT scans are $2,000 with insurance, he said, but are $300 through his practice
- X-rays are usually $500, but priced at $60 at Pinckney’s clinic, the results of which he can check on his smartphone
Practicing medicine, Pinckney said, is just as important as practicing fiscal responsibility.
Most all of his patients have a catastrophic insurance policy for emergencies.
It’s tough to pinpoint exactly how many doctors don’t accept insurance. Neither the American Medical Association nor the Texas Medical Association keep statistics.
But the TMA said the concept is increasing in popularity. That is how medicine was practiced before the creation of Medicare and before employers began offering health insurance as benefits, the organization added.