People often ask me, “What’s the difference between a DPC and a Traditional Doctor’s Office”
My office runs on a model called “direct primary care” or “DPC”. What does DPC mean to my patients? A DPC is an insurance-free doctor’s office that provides all the services you would need at a low monthly rate. Continue reading and learn how you can save hundreds to thousands of dollars annually by joining our Bergen County DPC, with our doctor’s office located in the heart of Ridgewood, New Jersey.
Learn About Maitri Wellness
The Cost of Insurance in Time and Money
Every year, we pay for insurance and then, to actually use the services we’ve already paid for, we have to pay even MORE money. Think about it, co-payments, deductibles, extra lab costs, bills from your insurance to tell you about services that weren’t covered—these are all trackable expenses. Imagine never having to deal with your insurance company ever again! That’s the kind of world we’re trying to create in our doctor’s office.
Remember, cost isn’t just how much money you spend, it’s also the time you devote to your medical visits. Think of the hours you waste in waiting rooms, on the phone with insurance support lines, and the time you take off work to fit into your doctor’s schedule. If you count how many minutes you wait in the waiting room, and then in the actual examination room for your doctor, you would be shocked. If you need your doctor to call you to discuss something important, how long will you wait to hear from them: hours, days, sometimes weeks? When you have an appointment with the specialist, does your doctor call them first to let them know why they are sending you to a specialist? Probably not. The truth is that there is no insurance plan in the world that can guarantee little to no wait time. Or timely call backs. Or seeing your doctor within 1-2 days. That’s why so many people go to urgent care. However, the drawback with urgent care centers is that you are seeing a different person every time, they have no idea what your medical history is, and their intentions aren’t to get know you, they want you out of their office as soon as possible so they can see the next patient. Their business model only works when they spend the least amount of time with each patient.
One cost that people generally don’t want to think about is the health cost. In America, 44% of people reported delaying seeing a doctor because they are concerned about the co-pay or their deductible according to Forbes. Delaying care can cause massive medical problems and incur additional financial hardship. As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We believe that when you’re sick, have a question, or need attention you should get it as soon as you need it.
Benefits of Working with a Doctor that Doesn’t Take Insurance
I’ve worked as a doctor who takes insurance and I know that these kinds of doctors are limited by what the insurance chooses to pay them. Insurance companies do not pay for phone calls. They often don’t pay for more than a 15 minute visit (including vitals and check-in by office staff). At times, they don’t pay for a visit at all, and a doctor’s office (and you!) are stuck arguing with the insurance company. Recent studies in Insurance Business Magazine shows that doctors spend anywhere from 50-67 percent of their time doing insurance-based paperwork, instead of taking care of their patients. This model is unsustainable and doesn’t offer the kind of care that my patients deserve, and that’s why I left the insurance-based system.
In direct primary care, the focus is on the doctor-patient relationship. The doctor (me) does not take insurance and the patient (you) pays a monthly access fee, to ensure that you can reach me or see me when you need me. This helps in two major ways. Not taking insurance lowers a lot of overhead for me—no more money spent paying a billing company to argue with insurance, no more time spent filling out paperwork for the insurance companies to make sure I get paid. The other major way the membership-based model helps the doctor is that it allows me to spend more time with each patient. Taking insurance means I have to see 1500-3000 patients a year. Working out of a DPC model, a full time doctor would see 600 patients. That frees up a lot more time to spend with you, to coordinate your care with specialists, to call you back, to answer your questions, and to not keep you waiting in the waiting room!
What you get for your monthly access fee
- Unlimited visits
- Unlimited Phone calls
- Unlimited texts
- See me when you need me
- Get same day or next day appointments
- Home visits when needed
All primary care costs—visits, calls, texts, stitches, biopsies, EKGs, stress tests—are included in your monthly fee. I also accompany some of my patients to their specialist visits—for a patient who is nervous, or is not sure what questions to ask, or is not sure if they will understand what the specialist is saying. OR, if they just want the moral support. I have found that everyone benefits from this. It is easier for the two doctors (the specialist and myself) to communicate with each other about why a referral was made, it is easier for the patient to get their questions answered and feel heard in the short time that the specialist has to spend as we organize ourselves ahead of time, and then after the visit, I can sit with my patients and discuss what happened so that they can understand it better.
What if you just have a question for me?
Sometimes, if you just have a question and you want to call or send a text, that is enough. Since we are not working through insurance, I get paid whether you call or see me or text. If I feel I can answer your question without you needing to come in, I can just answer your question. While an insurance-based doctor does not get paid until they see you in person, this is not the case in DPC.
Are there any additional costs or fees?
In my office, the only time you will ever pay anything more than your monthly fee will be if you request services that are fee-for-service. For example, I offer acupuncture and functional or integrative medicine consultations on a fee-for-service basis. There is also an additional fee for IUD insertion. If you have insurance, any time labs are drawn in the office, these will be billed to your insurance company. If you do not have insurance, we have a deal with a local lab that will give you 70% off all of your lab work and all costs are up front. We will always give you pricing on any labs BEFORE they are drawn.
Why I’m building a DPC in Ridgewood NJ
So we’ve covered why this kind of medical care is worth it for you. I want to spend 30-90 minutes with my patients per visit, so I can get to know them as a person, not just as a patient. I want to be able to call and text with patients directly to streamline communication and improve their care. I believe that this model will keep my costs lower and make comprehensive medical care for my patients affordable. The key is building a community of patients. I have chosen to engage with patients who are interested in improving their health, but need some help. We have a mutual respect in which they trust my medical expertise, and I trust that they will put in just as much effort as I am putting into their health and their well-being. All for a low monthly fee—you can’t find that anywhere else!