News Section

‘Concierge’ Medicine Gets More Affordable, But Is Still Not Widespread

‘Concierge’ Medicine Gets More Affordable, But Is Still Not Widespread

Some people pay $200 a month on the golf course or a fancy cable TV package, says David Westbrook, a hospital executive in Kansas City, Mo. His splurge? He pays Dr. John Dunlap $133 a month for what he considers exceptional primary care.

“I have the resources to spend a little extra money on my health care to my primary care physician relationship,” Westbrook says. “Because I have that access — and am very proactive in managing my personal health — I think I’m going to be healthier.”

That $133 is in addition to Westbrook’s monthly insurance premium, which he still needs to cover whatever Dr. Dunlap can’t handle in his primary care practice, like specialist visits, hospital care, and more.

For that fee, he has access to “concierge medicine” perks: a long, thorough annual physical exam — lab work included, no waiting room time, same-day appointments. Any other visits during the year costs him $20. His doctor knows him and understands his medical history. If he needs an answer to a question, he can call his doctor’s cell phone.

More than 1 in 5 wealthy people pay an extra fee for direct access to their doctor, according to a new poll from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. For low and middle income people, the rates are less than half that.

Read more about concierge medicine on the NPR website  HERE