by Leigh Held
NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The Affordable Care Act began its ripple effect two weeks ago, and health insurance shoppers are quietly adjusting to their new benefits. Yet one unexpected side effect has been the boost to concierge care, typically thought of as a service for the wealthyalone.
Concierge medicine has stepped down from its aristocratic pedestal and become a more affordable way for patients to receive treatment.
“Concierge medicine is a health care program that allows a patient to guarantee the timely services of an experienced primary care physician,” said Matt Jacobson, CEOand founder of SignatureMD. “Concierge medicine doctors receive patient retainers. These retainers afford doctors to see fewer patients and devote more time to preventative medicine.”
The U.S. is about to witness a doctor shortage that will also affect all of us. “Experts say that the U.S. will be short 65,000 physicians by this time next year,” Jacobson said. “The problem is especially acute among primary care physicians.” This is because primary care physicians and internists are making a fraction of what specialists bring home
There are concierge practices in most major areas throughout the United States. In New York City, One Medical Group provides these services to patients, charging an annual feeof $199 per year. One Medical Group accepts health insurance and even has online scheduling.
However, other companies providing these services are selling them directly to employerse. Best Doctors works with physicians from its database of the best 5% of physicians, audited and certified by Gallup, to help people get the right diagnosis and treatment. Many companies are using services like Best Doctors to cut healthcare costs by diagnostic accuracy.