“I dreaded my visits to the doctor,” says 54-year-old Rosie Walsh.
“She wasn’t a bad doctor… or even a bad person, I guess. She was well qualified… and nice. Even though she always seemed a little too busy to talk properly, you know?
“But those surprise bills were killing me.”
Rosie is referring to what doctors call “low-ticket items.”
Blood work. Pap Smears.
Those little tests to make sure everything is ticking over fine.
We all need them. But for Rosie, a two-time cancer survivor, these kind of tests are vital… frequent… and expensive.
Of course, doctors and insurance agencies refer to them as low-ticket items… but Rosie was looking at semi-regular bills of $200… $500… even $1,000.
“And, of course, my insurance company didn’t cover any of it,” says Rosie. “Every time I would go to the doctor, I never knew how much it was going to cost me.
“They never tell you the price up front. And then two weeks later… there’s this bill for $850 and I’m like, ‘when did this happen?’
“Imagine. Being afraid of going to the doctor. I was stressing about it constantly. And of course, stress makes you sick, so I found myself needing to go the doctor more and more regularly.
“It was a nightmare.”
The Healthcare Trap
We’ve all been there.
Hidden costs that weren’t explained upfront.
Mysterious add-on items and “services” tacked on to your bill.
“Comprehensive” insurance plans that can’t cover basic medical costs.
And we have to just sit there and take it.
Because the choice is to pay up now… or pay later… with your health.
You feel trapped between your shrinking bank account and the responsibility to stay healthy.
“I couldn’t take it anymore,” says Rosie. “It was driving me insane. Thank God I got out when I did.”
Rosie got out. And carved herself a slice of sanity in this crazy system.
Join the Club
Doctors aren’t blind to how disastrous our healthcare system is.
They’re forced to operate within the confines of a corrupt and broken system. And they see the damage it does to regular folks firsthand every day.
But there’s a revolution starting from within the healthcare industry. A small contingent of doctors, surgery centers and even hospitals who are refusing insurance entirely.
They only take cash. And by cutting out the middleman they are able to offer deep discounts on treatment and services.
We’ll talk more about this another day. But today we’re looking at a small group of these cash-only doctors who have started direct primary care memberships (DPCM).
With a membership system, you pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited doctors’ visits, blood tests, pediatric care and a host of low-ticket items.
There’s no copay for your visits or hidden costs.
“When I first heard about the membership, from a friend, I thought it was a joke,” says Rosie. “I mean the first thing you think when you hear membership is gym membership.
“But then I realized. I pay $60 a month for my gym membership. And I’m happy to pay for it because it’s for my health. This is far more important than the gym and it costs just $10 more a month. I pay $70 a month now.
“When it sunk in that I was only going to be paying that much every month… I cried. I’ve saved thousands of dollars.”
Of course, a DPCM won’t cover hospital stays, surgery or the costs from a catastrophic injury. Which is why Rosie pairs her membership with a high-deductible, low-premium insurance plan.
“Some folks might be tempted to drop their insurance,” says Rosie. “But I’ve had cancer twice. I know just how messed up things can get from a single diagnosis.
“Even if you were the healthiest person in the world, I’d pair it with some sort of plan. It’s just good sense.”
If, like Rosie, you make frequent doctor’s visits, this plan could save you a fortune.
Direct primary care memberships can cost anywhere between $35—150 a month, depending on your age, health and number of family members signing up.
And because direct pay doctors tend to have less patients, your doctor can afford to spend time with you and make sure you’re getting the right diagnosis and the right treatment for you.
To find a direct primary care practice near you, head over to dpcare.org and check out their location map.
All the best,
Editor, Money & Crisis