Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Co-Pays Will Disappear (If Only We'll Let Them) - Part 2

We talked about co-pays in terms of prescription medications, however, another area where co-pays could go is for standard procedures at hospitals.  Hospitals charge exorbitant amounts for small procedures such as getting stitches with bills in the thousands.

For those who are insured, insurance covers the vast majority of the cost leaving us a deductible or co-pay.  However, everyone ends up paying this inflated cost as insurance premiums rise to cover the fees.  This is another case where a new model is emerging.

Two friends of ours: Dr. John Muney, founder of AMG Medical Group in New York City and Dr. Vic Wood, founder of Primary Care One in West Virginia & Ohio are innovators in this space.  They offer comprehensive healthcare (almost everything offered in a hospital) for a low flat fee under $100 a month.

Yes, you read correctly.  In fact it's $79 a month for AMG Medical Group and $83 a month for Primary Care One, with NO CO-PAYS.

Both doctors faced uphill battles getting state approval, however, once people saw the benefits of offering truly affordable healthcare, the rest was history.  Dr. Muney says, ""What is happening in the American medical system is 70% of our healthcare cost is not spent on healthcare. It's bureaucracy. People ask me, 'What's the catch?' I say, 'There isn't one.'"

Therein lies the problem:  Here are two doctors with obvious answers to the healthcare debate bringing affordable care within reach of most Americans, but we can't believe it.  We've been trained to believe we must go to hospitals, use our insurance, and pay co-pays.

So, have we convinced you that co-pays are unnecessary?  Probably not, but until American's can get their mind around comprehensive healthcare being as good as any hospital for a flat fee, the co-pay will be alive and well and the status quo will prevail.

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