7 Things To Consider When Choosing a Direct Primary Care Physician

7 Things To Consider When Choosing a Direct Primary Care Physician

Direct Primary Care (DPC) is a newer approach to traditional primary care through a general practice doctor. Rather than paying for visits using healthcare insurance (with or without a co-pay), DPCs charge a subscription fee, which is often lower than the cost of health insurance.

These considerations can help you decide if a DPC practice is right for you:


Most DPC doctors place a high priority on keeping you healthy. This is excellent news since preventative care keeps you feeling good and usually lowers your overall cost of healthcare. Make an appointment to meet a potential physician and discuss their philosophy. If they don’t welcome an initial consult, you should probably keep searching.


Prices can vary wildly, as well as what’s included in a subscription. Make sure you clearly understand these details and are comparing “apples to apples” when choosing between providers.


Some DPC doctors require a minimum subscription commitment. Others work on a month-to-month basis. As long as you’re making an informed decision, either approach is fine.


DPC doctors may charge additional fees for some or all in-office procedures. In other cases, this is wrapped into the subscription. Be sure you know what is included and what costs more.


Has the practice negotiated lower rates on patients’ lab tests? For example, the “retail” price on a Complete Blood Count (CBC) panel can be well over $200, but some DPCs have secured “negotiated” rates for their patients, cutting the cost to $30 or less.


Some DPC doctors write prescriptions to fill at your local pharmacy. Others offer common (non-narcotic) prescription drugs at an “in-house” pharmacy for lower (sometimes dramatically lower) prices. Be sure to ask about any potential Rx benefits.


In addition to negotiating rates on lab tests, some DPC practices negotiate rates for their patients when specialists or specialized services (like x-rays or MRIs) are needed.

Other practices offer local guidance on finding the best prices. They may also be able to do some of the initial prep work, before you see a specialist, to reduce the number of visits and the cost of specialist services.


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