Health Care Without Insurance – $50/Month?

Photo (cc) by Svadilfari

You’ve probably heard of Doctors Without Borders. Now get ready for doctors without insurance.

Thanks to a little-known provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as healthcare reform, beginning in 2014, a new type of medical practice will be allowed to compete within state-based insurance exchanges. They’re called Direct Primary Care practices, or “medical homes.” As you saw in the video above, by eliminating insurance companies from the health care equation, these practices promise to lower the cost of medical care by up to 40 percent – according to some experts, the amount sucked up by insurance company profit and overhead.

The way it works

Rather than paying an insurance company every month for health coverage, you cut out them out entirely and pay a doctor or group directly. It’s like a gym membership – you pay every month whether you go or not, but you can go as often as you want, whenever you want. No insurance, no deductible, no paperwork, no bill. The cost? $50 – $150 per month, depending on your age.

And not only is this idea a money-saver, its proponents claim that it could also radically improve the quality of care you receive, because the doctors will be able to spend time with patients that’s now spent on paperwork.

How can the simple act of eliminating an insurance company offer both lower costs and better care? To get an idea, consider your car insurance. Suppose that whenever you needed an oil change, an insurance company was going to pay the bill. You don’t care how much an oil change costs – that’s the insurance company’s problem. But because they’re paying, the insurance company only allows you to see a mechanic with whom it has negotiated rates and otherwise approved in advance. When you go to the shop, the mechanic has to keep detailed records of exactly what was done to your car and why. In order to get paid for their services, the mechanic will have to submit the proper forms – different for each insurance company they work with – then await approval. If the insurance company reviews the file and decides your car didn’t really need an oil change, the mechanic provided services that may not have been necessary, or there’s a deductible in your policy, they’ll disallow the payment. The mechanic will then be forced to start over and collect their money from you.

Result? Your mechanic is going to spend a lot more time adhering to insurance company guidelines, filling out paperwork, and trying to collect their money – and a lot less time changing oil. Since they don’t get paid for doing paperwork, they’ll have to work longer hours, charge more, and/or spend less time with your car. In addition, they may find their job less rewarding, since rather than doing what they think is right, they’ll instead be doing only what an insurance company mandates.

The reason you don’t have insurance for things like oil changes is that you don’t need it. An oil change isn’t a big enough expense to justify the added hassle, overhead and paperwork of working through an insurance company. Proponents of direct primary care offer the same logic for doctor visits. Forget the insurance – just pay a monthly fee and go see a happier doctor as often as you want. And that’s where 90 percent of health care happens: in a doctor’s office.

But what about the other 10 percent of healthcare that happens at a specialist’s office, an emergency room or in a hospital? For potentially catastrophic costs, you’ll still need insurance – just like you do for your car. So in addition to joining a direct primary care group, you’ll still need insurance to cover hospital visits. But since that’s all that’s covered, it’s theoretically much less expensive.

Direct primary care isn’t for everyone. For example, if you never go to the doctor, maybe you’d prefer to just get a high-deductible policy and skip the $50-$100 month cost of a direct primary care practice. There will also be people (or employers) to whom even $50 a month per person is unaffordable. But this type of innovation could be a partial solution for some employers, as well as the millions who now pay for their own insurance.

If you’d like to see what this kind of health care solution looks like, you don’t have to wait. As you saw in the video above, they exist right now. The company we featured, Qliance, is in the Seattle area. But here’s a nationwide list of direct primary care doctors. And here’s a website that has a lot more information on the concept.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Mistakes That Cost You Money at Warehouse Stores
10 Mistakes That Cost You Money at Warehouse Stores

Wholesale clubs might have great deals, but these mistakes will cost you.

3 Reasons You Can’t Rely on Medicare Alone
3 Reasons You Can’t Rely on Medicare Alone

Counting on Medicare to cover health care costs can jeopardize your retirement plans.

7 Things That Prove Cheaper Isn’t Always Better
7 Things That Prove Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

These purchases can end up costing you more if you try to go the cheap route.

5 Ways Your Phone Can Slash Grocery Costs
5 Ways Your Phone Can Slash Grocery Costs

These free apps and websites can help you get cash back on groceries, shop more efficiently or squeeze the most from the ingredients you have on hand.

How to Buy a Refrigerator, Step by Step
How to Buy a Refrigerator, Step by Step

Here’s how I got the perfect appliance at the perfect price.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Whether you resell it for a big profit or add it to your own wardrobe, this type of clothing is a hidden steal.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?
Is This Treatable Condition Causing Your High Blood Pressure?

Researchers say too many doctors are overlooking this potential source of hypertension.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider
Taking a Multivitamin? Here’s Why You Should Reconsider

A new study has bad news for the millions of Americans who spend money on multivitamins.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss
21 Items to Cut From Your Budget That You Won’t Even Miss

Start off the new year by implementing these small-but-smart savings strategies. They’ll soon add up.

Longer Trips to These Stores May Raise COVID-19 Risk
Longer Trips to These Stores May Raise COVID-19 Risk

An airborne-disease expert recommends leaving this type of store within a half-hour.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021
Prepare to Pay More for These 31 Drugs in 2021

More than 700 prescription medications have seen price hikes so far this year. Here’s a look at the worst.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.