Q: As a small business owner, I am looking for affordable health care options. A friend suggested that I look into direct primary care, but I’m not familiar with the term. Do you have any insights?
A: Having access to affordable benefits is one of the most significant challenges to entrepreneurs in America. Health care in particular presents challenges due to expense and importance of your health history. You’ve asked a great question that is a concern to most, if not all, small business owners.
Direct primary care (DPC) is essentially a membership plan for your medical care. You can typically sign up on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. In addition to gaining access to a primary care doctor, you can obtain clinical and laboratory testing as well as other services.
The benefit of this form of care is that it allows doctors to deal directly with patients and get out from under the bureaucracy of working with large health insurance companies. The time that doctors don’t have to spend dealing with insurance allows them time to spend more time with their patients.
For patients, there are many reasons to like DPC. It provides the affordable access to care that is difficult, if not impossible, to find through traditional insurance options. It gives you more time and access to your doctor to benefit your long-term health and wellness. Another huge plus of DPC is that access to care is not restricted for those with pre-existing conditions.
While DPC can provide you with regular access to preventative and routine medical care, it doesn’t cover everything. For that reason, the American Academy of Family Physicians encourages those with these plans to have a high deductible plan to cover emergencies and other areas not included in DPC.
You can review this great chart that outlines the pros and cons of the DPC model for patients for you to help you learn more about and think through this option for your situation.
As a next step, I’d encourage you to research DPC options in your area and make a few calls to find out more specifics. Additionally, it’s a good idea to speak with your network to learn if any friends or colleagues can speak to you about their experience.
My view is that DPC is a great option for small business owners, freelancers, and other professionals who need affordable insurance coverage and can’t afford the high costs of traditional coverage, or have pre-existing conditions that limit their options. Increased access to care means that folks can maximize their health regardless of their job status, which is a win all around.
I want business owners to enjoy financial wellness, but that means their overall health needs to be taken care of as well.
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