Alabama Should Open Up Doors to Direct Primary Care

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Alabama should consider making sure direct primary agreements do not constitute insurance under state law, one of the greatest hurdles facing DPC models today. This would free doctors and patients from many expensive regulations imposed under the state’s insurance code. It would also help open up the state’s health care market to more DPC programs and improve health care freedom across Alabama. According to the Docs4PatientCare Foundation, “14 states [have] thus far [chosen] to clarify that DPC is not a ‘risk-bearing entity’ for the purposes of regulation by state insurance commissioners.” Similar proposals have been introduced over the past year in Georgia and Tennessee, and another will soon be introduced in Maine.

Under a direct primary care program, patients pay a monthly membership fee, typically ranging from around $50 to $80. As part of the membership, patients receive a more generous allocation of appointments than they would under most traditional plans, even when taking into account some same-day appointments and house calls. The guarantee of a set monthly fee removes the layers of regulation and bureaucracy created by the traditional insurance system and allows physicians to see fewer patients and focus more on each patient.

Routine tests and procedures are also included in most DPC plans, and lower membership fees are often charged for programs that do not provide these additional services. According to the Docs4Patient Care Foundation, under a DPC model, medical practice overhead can be reduced by as much as 40 percent. Proponents of DPC programs agree these services are best used in conjunction with a high-deductible health care insurance plan or another form of catastrophic coverage to handle in-patient health care services. The American Academy of Family Physicians has endorsed the DPC model.Direct primary care empowers patients and doctors, giving them more freedom to establish and participate in health care provider models that work best for all patients. Alabama should remove unnecessary regulatory barriers to direct primary care to help revitalize the state’s primary health care system.

Direct primary care empowers patients and doctors, giving them more freedom to establish and participate in health care provider models that work best for all patients. Alabama should remove unnecessary regulatory barriers to direct primary care to help revitalize the state’s primary health care system.

Read the full research and commentary at The Heartland Institute.org

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