This week I was invited to speak at an America's Future Foundation meetup in Detroit. It was held at the Detroit Beer Company and the topic of discussion was free market healthcare. I was there representing Plum Health DPC and one of my colleagues, Chad Savage, MD of YourChoice Direct Care was there as well.
We talked for an hour about free market options for healthcare services in Detroit and Michigan, specifically Direct Primary Care. It was a great event and the audience members asked some great questions.
For example, people often ask about the difference between Direct Primary Care and Concierge Medicine. I wrote a blog post where I discussed the differences in detail, but in a Concierge Medicine Model, doctors charge a membership fee that is often greater than $100/month, continue to bill insurance for visits, and they do not typically offer money-saving ancillary services.
In contrast, Direct Primary Care doctors have membership fees in the $10 - $100/month range, do not bill insurance companies for services rendered, and typically offer money-saving ancillary services, like wholesale medications, at-cost labs and at-cost imaging.
Another common question about Direct Primary Care is about the legality of the practice. In 2014, Senator Patrick Colbeck spearheaded an effort in the Michigan Legislature to make Direct Primary Care "legal" in the State. I place "Legal" in quotation marks because it was not illegal before, but a grey area. Senate Bill 1033 of 2014 clearly defines Direct Primary Care and similar retainer-based medical services as legal in the State of Michigan.
Another common question is "how is this possible?", in reference to the savings on medication, labs and imaging services. As in, where does all that extra money go between the insurance-based prices for services and the direct prices? I often give examples of how I save my members on their meds, labs and imaging, and the attendees at this talk asked specifically about how I was able to save on these services.
It starts with wholesaling the medications and setting up contracts with independent retailers for lab services and imaging services. This way, we can negotiate at-cost pricing for services that you may need. These are often based on volume, so the more people who demand these services, the lower the overall costs. Then, I am not paying any middle men between these ancillary services and you the consumer. I do not mark up the prices on my meds, labs, or imaging services, because I want to provide you with the greatest amount of value for your healthcare dollar.
There were several other questions, but I will stop here! Again, it was a great meet-up and I'm looking forward to their next event! They have several chapters across the country, so you can see when and where their next events are happening on their Facebook page, just click "events".
- Dr. Paul with Plum Health DPC http://www.plumhealthdpc.com/