Lowering Healthcare Costs
As Partnerships and Outreach Director at Freedom Healthworks, I encounter many people who wonder why health insurance is so expensive. To answer that question, it’s important to take a step back and look at why the cost of healthcare is so expensive.
When you spend a dollar in the traditional healthcare system, there are a lot of middlemen who take a portion of that money, leaving only a fraction for the healthcare provider who performed the service. Before your doctor receives his share of that dollar, portions are whittled away by hospital administrators, insurance companies and health networks.
With everyone wanting a bigger piece of the pie, the cost of healthcare continues to rise, and the cost of health insurance goes up in response. There have been a lot of attempts to lower the cost of health insurance but, unfortunately, until healthcare costs go down it will be very difficult to lower health insurance premiums.
Healthcare Cost Transparency
In the U.S., people demand transparency of most industries when it comes to buying goods or services and understanding how much it’s going to cost. With healthcare, however, the system is really hard for consumers to understand and they struggle with it.
It really comes down to the complexity in the system. Because there are so many hands in that healthcare dollar you spend, it’s really hard to track that from beginning to end, making it really tough for you to understand what the true prices are and how much you’ll pay for a service performed in the hospital or at a doctor’s office.
The healthcare system has been so complex for so long that people don’t realize it’s possible to gain transparency in healthcare costs. It may be difficult to find but does exist, especially in Direct Primary Care. What we’re trying to accomplish with the direct primary care movement is really push along the transparency aspect of the current healthcare model. I think as that becomes a little more common, people will start to demand it.
How DPC Can Lower Healthcare Costs
The direct primary care model can solve a lot of these issues. Instead of spending that healthcare dollar on your physician and all of those middlemen, you spend it on a contract with a primary care physician. That means every dollar you spend actually goes toward healthcare, and not on all of the red tape, paperwork, etc.
The purity of the model makes it very affordable and provides great value to consumers. For a reasonable monthly fee, the DPC model basically gives you a doctor on retainer who’s available when you need him or her.
At Freedom Healthworks, we’re working to make the costs of healthcare more clear. For example, because we direct contract with lab companies, our DPC physicians can order lab tests at much lower costs. We also partner with wholesale pharmaceutical companies to deliver medications directly to the patient.
We’re starting to see a movement within healthcare for direct contracting on things like surgeries, mammograms and colonoscopies. With a direct contract with a DPC physician, consumers know the exact price they will pay for those services.
All of those things combined, in conjunction with direct primary care, are driving the effort to make pricing not only transparent but also help lower healthcare costs long-term.