What is Concierge Medicine?

July 7, 2014

You may be familiar with the term “retainer.” It usually refers to a sum of money you pay a lawyer in advance to begin whatever legal paperwork or courtroom assistance is necessary to manage your particular case. But have you ever heard of having a doctor on retainer?

If you haven’t, chances are you soon will. Retainer medicine, more commonly known as concierge medicine, is a rapidly growing segment of healthcare with the goal of providing better quality of care at reasonable prices without the hassle of dealing with insurance companies.

It works like this: A doctor who practices concierge medicine may charge patients a monthly or annual fee in exchange for the ability to schedule same-day appointments, have test and lab results returned much quicker, and be able to spend more time with the doctor each visit. In return for receiving the annual or monthly payments, the doctor often chooses to limit his or her practice to a set number of patients, usually around 1,000. Different practices may also choose to bill some insurance or charge a set co-pay regardless of the service provided.

By The Numbers

Since its onset, concierge medicine has split into two main camps: those that cater to the wealthy and charge higher monthly or annual retainers in exchange for luxuriant treatment at extravagant medical clinics, and those clinics who charge middle-class prices in exchange for basic primary-care medicine and better accessibility. In recent years, the trend has been leaning towards the affordable care model. According to the trade publication Concierge Medicine Today, there are approximately 5,500 concierge medical practices across the nation. Three years ago, about 49% of those practices charged less than $150 a month. Today, the number of practices charging $150 or less has jumped to nearly two-thirds.

Finding a Concierge Practice

The average number of patients seen per day at most concierge practices is six to eight. Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania and California currently have the most concierge practices in operation, but it’s estimated there is at least one concierge practice in every state. If you’re looking for a concierge practice, the American Academy of Private Physicians can provide assistance online to locate a practice near you. You may also search through a network of concierge providers, such as MDVIP. Doctors in MDVIP charge a set annual amount and limit their practices to 600 patients. You’re also able to visit the nearest MDVIP doctor if you’re a member and you become sick while traveling.

Dig Deeper

Before you choose a concierge practice for your health care, be sure to check with your insurance company. Relationships between insurers and practices vary from state to state and between plans, and your policy may offer coverage for tests or procedures not covered by your concierge fee. In addition, you may be able to pay for all or a portion of your monthly or annual concierge fee from a health savings plan or flexible spending account.
If you’re like most people, you probably feel like doctors don’t spend as much time with their patients as they used to. You might also feel like insurance companies spend more of their time pushing paperwork than paying for claims. If that’s the case, the concierge medical model may just suit you perfectly. To find the right one for you, do a little homework and ask questions, and your next medical visit may just feel like a dream instead of a rushed, form-filled nightmare.

To inquire about a Concierge Doctor in Las Vegas, NV visit Vegas Concierge Doctor for rates and more information.