While House Republicans grapple with how to repeal or replace Obamacare, some doctors and patients are turning to the idea of membership medicine.
Some doctors are offering what's called "concierge medicine" which eliminates the need for terms like co-pay, premiums and in-network.
“We've gone out and negotiated cash-pay rate, an MRI is $350 with radiology read instead of $3,000, xrays are $60 instead of $500, a cholestorol check is $4 instead of $128,” says Dr. James Pinckney, CEO and founder of Dallas-based Diamond Physicians which has been practicing membership medicine since 2012.
Instead of a family practice that handles thousands of patients, Diamond Physicians limits each doctor to just 600 patients. Pinckney likens it to paying a monthly gym membership.
“A monthly membership fee includes unlimited visits, no co-pay, 24-hour access to your doctor, you can call my cell phone, you can email me, you can text me, as well as unlimited urgent care,” he says.
Pinckney says you would only rely on your health insurance for costly emergency procedures.
“We want to use insurance like your car insurance,” he says. “When you fill up your car with gas, you swipe a credit card. When you need new windshield wipers or new tires, you pay cash.”
“If you get into an accident that causes thousands of dollars of damage, that's when you file an insurance claim and you pay your deductable.”