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May 18, 2017 by
aliereadvisors
In talking and learning about Direct Primary Care (DPC), it’s not unusual for people to get it confused with Concierge Medicine. However, these are two different services that have notable differences.

In this article, we’ll explore what concierge medicine is and how it differs from DPC. Keep reading to learn the key anomalies between these two distinct benefits.

What is Direct Primary Care?

We discussed this in more depth in our recent posts, but let’s refresh your memory. DPC is a healthcare option where participants pay a “retainer” to their physician rather than paying fees after receiving service (as it is in traditional insurance paid healthcare models).

The DPC retainer covers well visit as well as those that are illness related, as well as a laundry list of additional services that may be needed in patients.

What is Concierge Medicine?

Concierge Medicine was created in the mid 1990s, so it’s been around a bit longer than DPC. This practice is another “subscription” medical service where participants pay a regular fee (it may be monthly, annually, or quarterly – but monthly is most typical) to receive medical services.

These services include same-day appointments, round-the-clock support (via phone and email), and even house calls in some cases. This service can be quite costly, depending on the practice and the services offered – costing up to $30,000 a month in extreme cases.

On a more typical basis, the fees are about $200 a month for participants.

The physicians that participate in concierge medicine limit the number of patients their practice accepts in order to keep wait times down and appointment availability open for patients, much like that of DPC practices.

However, with concierge medicine, the “access fee” referenced above applies to “non-covered” services and serves to give members membership to the practice, while many other services are still billed through insurance.

This is in most cases, because it should be noted that select concierge practices do not bill via insurance providers.


Direct Primary Care vs. Concierge Medicine: The Distinction

While there are certain small differences between these two benefit options, the primary distinction is that concierge medicine practices typically bill through insurance providers for services.

DPC practices rely exclusively on the retainer payment from patients to cover their services, never billing fees through an insurance provider.

Concierge medicine practices – and their patients, for that matter – are subject to the premiums of insurance providers and still have fees imposed on them after certain visits, depending on what services they acquired as a result of their visit.

That means that concierge medicine does not operate via a “flat fare” like DPCs do, eliminating the benefit of patients not having to deal with insurance policies or unknown fees and bills.


With that, there is actually a sizable difference between these two services that people do not commonly realize until further examination of the benefit services.

We know that the world of benefits can be confusing to employers, so we are here as a knowledgeable and reliable resource to suit all of your employee benefit needs. Call us today to learn more!

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