Direct Primary Care
What is Direct Primary Care?
It is a membership system where you pay your doctor directly, much like your grandparents did. It is typically handled through a clinic.
How does it work?
For a small monthly fee, you get basic services such as annual physicals, regular check ups and treatment for minor emergencies of the sort that can be handled in a doctor's office.
Why would it have lower costs than the current model?
It achieves lower costs in large part by cutting out the middle man of health insurance for basic services. The fact that the U.S. relies on a third party payer system adds tremendous bureaucracy and expense for no actual gain of any sort.
How does it achieve better health outcomes?
Doctors in DPC clinics spend substantially less time on paperwork, thus allowing them to spend more time with patients. They see their patients more frequently and patients are thus better able to stay on top of health maintenance issues, thereby reducing the incidence of serious complications requiring surgeries, in patient stays, etc. This actually improves overall health while lowering medical expenses, two goals of the ACA that are largely not being met by most ACA compliant options.
How it relates to Obamacare
A little known provision of the ACA makes Direct Primary Care a kind of legal loophole. When combined with a high deductible health plan or health savings account, Direct Primary Care can meet the requirements for basic coverage, thus getting you out of the tax penalty for not being properly covered.
This has caused Direct Primary Care to be a high growth industry.
Why do I still need an HSA or HDHP?
Because DPC does not cover things like surgery and hospital stays. Also, because it is still currently necessary to be in compliance with Obamacare. DPC alone is not sufficient.