Pre-Paid Healthcare: Concierge Medicine for the Un- and Underinsured

Monday, October 22nd, 2007
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

Soon you may be choosing your healthcare plan the way you choose cell phone coverage: pre-paid vs. fee-for-service. The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reports that several hundred primary care physicians around the country are offering pre-paid plans for unlimited primary and urgent care, including office visits, lab work, X-rays and certain generic drugs. One West Virginia doctor charges $125 a month.

It’s not supposed to replace insurance — the deal doesn’t include any specialist or hospital care, and it doesn’t cover branded drugs or serious procedures. But for those without insurance, the pre-paid approach could represent an affordable stopgap.

Though still experimental, proponents argue that the pre-paid approach tackles two problems in U.S. health care: a decline in the number of primary care doctors and the growing number of Americans who are either uninsured or underinsured.

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