Concierge Medicine: Failure to Launch?

By Hillary Eames
Thursday, May 14, 2020

Despite decades of availability to patients, concierge medicine is still not widespread. Why is that?

Since its introduction, concierge medicine has offered patients the chance to pay a monthly fee to receive medical care with additional perks, such as extended visits and real-time communication with physicians outside of office hours. This model circumvents third-party interference and waiting for insurance company approvals, allowing for a more direct and personal patient-provider relationship. However, concierge medicine is often an expensive model for patients, with some higher-end packages costing patients tens of thousands of dollars per month, making it an economically unviable option for many.

The Benefits of Direct Primary Care

Direct primary care functions similarly to concierge medicine, allowing patients to pay flat annual fees for a defined set of primary care services. The Direct Primary Care Coalition states that its agreement allows patients unlimited access to primary care and preventive services in a medical home. Benefits similar to concierge medicine may also be available.

Most notably, however, direct primary care is often more affordable for patients and their families when compared to concierge medicine, with some physicians even choosing to offer “scholarships” to patients who cannot afford the monthly rates. When approached with the direct primary care model, the concept of concierge medicine may become more mainstream in the future.