Local doctor cuts out insurance companies in order to provide better care
St. Charles, MO August 7, 2018
For the first time, patients in St. Charles County can see a doctor without an appointment, co-pay or deductible at the newly opened Direct Patient Care St. Louis. As part of the growing direct primary care movement, Direct Patient Care St. Louis uses a membership structure to provide more comprehensive care at a lower cost, without the headache and expense of traditional insurance.
Dr. Robb Hicks was inspired to open a direct primary care practice after growing extremely frustrated with traditional medicine. “Insurance companies said they would pay me to see a patient, but the amount they paid me was only enough to cover 8 minutes’ worth of office overhead expenses,” Dr. Hicks said. “And then they told me that – in order to collect that money — I had to spend over half of those 8 minutes ticking boxes on a computer for them.”
“Direct primary care kicks the insurance company — as well as any other middlemen — out of the exam room,” Dr. Hicks said.” “You have all these insurance companies and ancillary medical businesses who have decided that they can make tons of money by forcing their way into your doctor’s office and inserting themselves between you and your doctor.”
“If you pay them off (through ‘premiums’) and your doctor does what they say — even though it’s not in your best interest — then they’ll leave,” Dr Hicks says. “But I’m complicit in this extortion plot if I let them in the door in the first place,” Dr. Hicks adds. “So by saying no to insurance I can remove them from the equation and finally focus on what really matters — helping my patients.”
“Direct primary care is growing rapidly, even though most people in St. Louis have not heard of it,” Dr. Hicks notes. Although no one knows the actual number of DPC doctors practicing in the U.S. today, DPC experts estimate that the number has doubled in just the last couple of years. Like other DPC practices, Direct Patient Care St. Louis charges patients a monthly fee averaging $50 that covers all visits, preventive screenings, procedures, and other in-office services. Labs, xrays, and more advanced tests are offered to patients at a discounted rate, and Dr. Hicks dispenses generic medications to patients at his wholesale cost, without any profit markup. ‘Your membership fee pays for my time – all of it, however much you need,” Dr. Hicks says, “so there is no reason to mark up any medical supplies or medications. You can have them for the price they cost me.”
Although patients are encouraged to keep a low-cost wraparound insurance plan to cover catastrophic emergencies or surgery, their membership fee would replace their large monthly insurance premiums, as well as their co-pays and deductibles. This model enables substantial savings for patients or their employers since the costly insurance middleman is completely removed.
About Direct Patient Care St. Louis
Direct Patient Care St. Louis was founded by Dr. Robb Hicks in 2016. At first he only had a few patients, so he didn’t need an office – he gladly made house calls to see his few patients. But as more people learned about direct primary care and joined his growing practice, Dr. Hicks realized the need for a small office space where he could examine and treat patients with all his medical tools and supplies handy. Last Wednesday, the Greater St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate Dr. Hicks opening his office in St. Peters.
As the first pure direct primary care practice in St. Louis, one that refuses to take even one dime in payment from health insurance companies, Direct Patient Care St. Louis offers convenient patient care at affordable prices. For more information, or to learn how employers can provide DPC benefits to their employees, visit DirectPatientCareStL.com or call Dr. Hicks on his cell at 314-680-1632.