Interesting article in USA Today on the growing trend in physician retainer practices, a new, lower cost alternative for people looking for more of a relationship with their doctor:
Retainer practices aren’t the “concierge” or “boutique” medical practices that cater to the wealthy. Instead, they’re designed for people with high-deductible or catastrophic insurance who need affordable primary care, Wu said.
They’re also attractive to patients with no insurance, like Eugene resident Dan Mullin.
Mullin, 63, has been out of work for three years and without insurance for two. He and his wife, who has diabetes, were among the first to sign on with Butdorf.
“For someone who does not have insurance but needs a doctor’s care, it’s the way to go,” Mullin said.
Doctors say the arrangement allows them to spend more time with patients, and less time dealing with insurance companies. Patients can receive same-day appointments, longer appointments, or more comprehensive annual exams.
[Dr.] Butdorf charges patients between $39 and $79 per month, depending on their age, plus $20 for each office visit. He says he devotes an average of 30 minutes to each appointment, and 60 minutes for an annual physical.
“What I’m doing allows the patient to come to the doctor and pay the doctor without a third party there to set rules and regulations for how we conduct medicine,” Butdorf said.
Have you tried a retainer arrangement with your doctor? Tell us about it in our discussion forums!
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