For most employers, providing health insurance is too expensive and employees are often left with too little coverage. A Direct Primary Care practice, however, offesr affordable access to quality care without the outrageous fees of a typical group benefits plan. Think direct contracts sound like a good fit for your business? Read on to find out how it works and how it can benefit you and your employees.
What are Direct Contracts and How Do They Work?
Direct contracts, better known as Direct Primary Care or DPC, are a new way for employers to provide affordable, high-quality healthcare to their employees. If you’ve been looking to arrange Small Group Employee Benefits and finding yourself frustrated with the high, unpredictable prices and low coverage, a Direct Primary Care practice may be the solution you’re looking for. Unlike most options under the Affordable Care Act, direct contracts are a genuinely affordable option that come with many advantages for companies.
Service through a Direct Primary Care practice comes with a predictable monthly fee, while giving patients greater access to a primary care physician without driving up other costs of care. This is especially beneficial for smaller companies for whom typical health insurance plans are just not worth the price tag. Because direct contracts come at an affordable, recurring fee, they are very financially accessible for employers. In exchange for a flat fee, DPC allows patients to access a full range of comprehensive primary services, including regular checkups, preventive care, and more.
A More Personalized Approach to Health Care
One of the major benefits of Direct Primary Care is the ability for doctors and patients to build closer relationships. Direct Primary Care feels more like those small town medical practices of times gone by, when a family doctor was an integral part of the community. Because doctors are able to spend more time with patients, closer relationships can be formed and, in turn, more personalized care is offered. When a family doctor really knows, understands, and helps manage the medical challenges of their patients, this results in happier – and more importantly – healthier patients.
With the way today’s healthcare system is set up, patients usually see many different doctors and specialists, making it practically impossible to develop a relationship with a primary physician. This can result in conflicting diagnoses and prescriptions, which can complicate healthcare and result in poor health outcomes. Direct Primary Care practices can offer you a real partner in your health. By eliminating unnecessary, time-consuming tasks, such as following complicated insurance billing and payment procedures, physicians are able to spend more time with patients and build better relationships.
Healthcare For a Regular Fee
With Direct Primary Care, members are charged a regular, monthly membership fee. that is usually monthly. Depending on the plan, this monthly fee may be the only charge, though it’s more common for the fee to cover office visits (sometimes including virtual visits, telephone, and text assistance) with smaller, deeply discounted fees for other medical expenses (such as labs, imaging, and so on). On more basic plans, office visits may not be covered, however, any associated fees will still be available at a more affordable, reduced price.
For example, Angel Plan’s Platinum memberships offer free unlimited office visits and include unlimited text and telephone assistance at a membership fee of $95-115 (depending on the age of the individual) and deeply reduced basic and advanced labs. Our Gold memberships offer office visits for $40 per visit plus unlimited text and telephone assistance, with a $60 monthly membership fee. Comparatively, our Silver memberships cost only $40 monthly and offer office visits at $40 per visit.
Affordable Plans for Businesses of Any Size
As a stand alone benefit, DPC doesn’t meet ACA requirements. However, in combination with a Minimum Essential Coverage plan, HDHP, or a medical cost sharing ministry, DPC can be an excellent part of a custom-designed ACA compliant plan. Employers who aren’t required to offer traditional health plans, however, and especially those for whom the cost is a barrier, Direct Primary Care practices can grant employees access to basic, common medical needs.
For employers, DPC plans can be fully customized. This means that employers can choose to pay the full fee monthly or simply contribute a fixed amount towards employee memberships. If, on the other hand, sponsorship of any kind is just not feasible for an employer, employees can still elect to sign up on their own and receive group discounted rates.
How Can Employers Benefit from Direct Primary Care?
Direct Primary Care has many advantages for employers seeking to provide health insurance to their employees. Because DPC is available at a lower, more predictable cost, companies with as few as 10 employees can enjoy the benefits of providing high-quality employee healthcare. The personalized care and physician accessibility that comes with Direct Primary Care can reduce healthcare claims and absenteeism caused by health issues (i.e. time away from work to see doctors, specialists, etc.) This can provide a recruiting advantage to companies looking to appeal to top-quality prospects.
Direct primary care can offer many benefits, including decreased healthcare costs, reduced occurrence of chronic disease, reduced frequency of unnecessary care (ex: ER visits, specialty referrals, inpatient admissions, and MRIs), and greater utilization of healthcare. Additionally, employers can see reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and lower turnover rates.
How Direct Primary Care Lowers the Cost of Care
Typically, an employee’s medical visit will result in a claim for an employer, but with DPC, there are no claims. The employer never has to pay anything extra, even when unexpected medical expenses come up. For example, if a worker incurred a minor injury such as a laceration, this could be stitched up and the employee would be sent back to work on the same day. Oftentimes, small medical needs can be tended to quickly and employees can return to the job immediately. Also, employees who need prescription medication or have chronic illness will benefit from having access to unlimited doctor’s visits.
The Most Expensive Medical Conditions for Business
The most expensive medical conditions for businesses are heart disease and stroke. Four of the top ten most expensive health conditions – high blood pressure, heart attacks, diabetes, and angina pectoris (chest pain) – are all related to cardiovascular disease. These conditions are among the leading causes of death and disability, and come at the price of steep health care costs for doctor visits, prescriptions, trips to the ER, and hospital admissions, as well as lost productivity and absenteeism in the workplace.
How DPC Can Help Improve Cardiovascular Health
DPC allows patients to work intimately alongside a family physician, so when cardiovascular risk factors are present, they can be caught early and primary preventive strategies can be implemented. When healthcare is not accessible, managing risk factors becomes more difficult, resulting in an increased risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attacks, strokes, or heart failure. This will inevitably increase morbidity, mortality, and the cost of healthcare, especially in aging populations. For this reason, Direct Primary Care is a great solution for managing expensive medical conditions.
For less than a cup of coffee a day per member, a DPC membership can offer substantial savings for employers looking to help improve the cardiovascular health of their employees. For example, Angel Plan offers a cardiovascular disease and diabetes management program designed to target at-risk employees that can help directly control the rising costs of employee health care and result in savings for your company’s bottom line. With the right interventions, at-risk employees can lower their out-of-pocket health care expenses while becoming healthier and more productive. We call that a win-win.
Direct Primary Care with Angel Plan
Direct Primary Care with Angel Plan allows employers to offer more personalized, more attentive care to employees without incurring extra expenses. You’ll save money, reduce absenteeism, and improve your workplace by creating healthier, happier employees. The Angel Plan is centered on facilitating close patient-provider relationships, so your employees get the best possible service at the most affordable prices. We believe that giving employees access to quality care is an essential responsibility of every good business and we are proud to be able to offer customized plans to keep healthcare affordable for employers.
Make a Change Today
When using Small Group Employee Benefits, employers have often struggled to provide affordable access to healthcare for their employees. However, DPC provides an affordable alternative to typical health insurance plans. It’s time to stop letting expensive health insurance get in the way of quality medical care. Visit Angel Plan and sign up for your Direct Primary Care plan today.