If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the past several years about concierge medicine through observing this emerging health care market, it’s that people really don’t understand that it’s not about price. We think of these pioneering doctors who carry around a medical bag with a stethoscope inside and who come to the aid of our family and our bedside as visionary physicians who want to normalize their practices and get back to practicing medicine as it was before 1960.
According to data analyzed from nearly 1,000 currently operating concierge practices in the U.S. between 2011 and 2013, we’ve determined the national average annual fee for concierge medical services is between $1,400-$1,700 per patient per year. Large networks of concierge medicine and direct primary care doctors have claimed a significant portion of the concierge doctor market share and thus help to keep prices from inflating too high in major metropolitan markets.I have found that some independent concierge doctors, those not affiliated with the larger franchise consulting companies, who are not part of a large group may charge higher rates, $2,500 and up.
If more people are exposed to the cost value of concierge medical care, it will make a big difference in what they spend. A recent story ina widely popular national newspaper supports this belief. The paper reports that the State of Indiana has a high-deductible plan and another that’s a traditional HMO. People in the high-deductible plan spend thousands less than those in the HMO.
‘The average expense in 2009 for patients in one of these [high-deductible] plans was $6,393,’ the paper writes, ‘compared with $8,570 for patients enrolled in a more traditional health maintenance organization plan.’
It’s also a fact that nearly 60% of concierge medical programs across the U.S. cost an individual less than $135 per month. Some programs cost as little as $10 per month for children. Patients typically receive unlimited access to the doctor at their home, work or the doctor’s office along with unlimited technology visits, such as cell phone, web cam, email and texting. Furthermore, many concierge and direct primary care doctors offer access to wholesale pricing on prescriptions, lab tests, imaging services and medical supplies for pennies on the dollar.
Average Combined Annual Household Income of a Concierge Medicine or Direct Primary Care Patient Is:
- 34% – earn less than $100,000 each year
- 39% – earn between $100k-200k per year
- 14% – earn between $200k-$300k per year
- 5% – earn between $300k-$400k per year
- 3% – earn between $400k-$500k per year
- 2% – earn between $500k-$600k per year
- 1% – earn between $600k-$700k per year
- 2% – earn between $700k and above per year
In 2010, I submitted this data to a prominent financial publication and told them that ‘Utilizing a blended rate based upon national averages for current fees charged for concierge medical care, an estimated 9,285,714,286 people could be provided concierge medical care with the 13 trillion dollar debt. Carrying this out 928,571,429 people could be provided this care for 10 years. These figures are based upon information obtained through average pricing surveys conducted from 2009-2010.’
Here’s the upshot: When you combine high-deductible health plan policies with a concierge medical program, you empower people and families to make better decisions about their health care, they in turn receive more comprehensive medical care and then the savings happen and stronger relationships occur between the physician and their patients. One concierge physician said it best when she said that her patients can say ‘I no longer have a doctor who needs to look at my chart to know my name.’