NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

FIRST-CLASS HEALTH CARE -- FOR A PRICE

September 17, 2007

Although most of us balk at the idea of paying even higher rates for health care, a growing number of people choose to shell out hundreds more -- and actually like the idea, says ABC News.

Consider:

  • Retainer practices, also referred to as "concierge medicine" or "boutique health care," offer patients a wide range of services, including longer appointments, no wait time and 24/7 access to their physician.
  • All this comes attached to a hefty price tag -- a yearly fee of up to $1,500 or more.
  • Despite a report in the journal Health Affairs that insurance premiums are rising faster than inflation and wages, many are willing to pay these extra fees.

However, in an age when the primary care doctor is already a rare commodity, some worry that concierge practices may further jeopardize the availability of care, since these physicians treat a fraction of the number of patients ordinarily seen by a mainstream physician, says ABC.

Others say that this model of care allows them to devote more time to their patients.  Dr. Stephen Glasser, an internist in Baltimore, is affiliated with MDVIP, a company that specializes in personalized preventive care.  He switched to this model when his former practice became overwhelming.

"We (started) to be in a mode of seeing more and more patients to keep up with the overhead and demands of the practice," he says.  "I would see 30 patients a day.  I was unable to carry out what I consider to be appropriate care for every patient."

Source: Susan Kansagra, "First-Class Health Care -- for a Price," ABC News, September 14, 2007.

For text:

http://www.abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=3599350&page=1

 

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