In his book Concierge Medicine, Stephen D. Knope MD discusses the six myths of concierge medicine:
- Concierge Medicine is just for the wealthy. This is no longer true, he believes. “The cost of concierge medicine depends upon the services that are offered by the individual doctor…. and range from $1,500 per year to $15,000 per year.”
- Concierge Medicine is just a referral source for specialists. Dr. Knope believes that concierge physicians have time to deal with most medical problems on their own without the need for referring to specialists, thus lowering the cost of medical care while improving patient outcomes.
- Concierge care is too expensive because I still need health insurance. Although most patients still need catastrophic medical insurance to avoid bankruptcy in the event of serious illness, he believes that many people can lower their total medical care cost “by combining a high deductible health insurance plan with a health savings account (HSA). This can make concierge medicine quite affordable.”
- Concierge doctors are greedy and don’t care for the underprivileged. On average, a concierge physician earns the equivalent income of a specialist, according to Dr. Knope, often seeing about 10% of their patients for free.
- Concierge Medicine will only worsen the shortage of primary care doctors. Although he agrees that most doctors will decrease the size of their practice when they switch to a concierge model, he believes that this would be more than offset by the retention of physicians who are leaving family practice in droves, due primarily to frustration with a “broken system”.
- Concierge Medicine is unethical. On the contrary, says Dr. Knope. Doctors who practice traditional medicine signed contracts with insurance companies in exchange for referrals, agree to ration care to help maximize profits for these companies, and in some cases are prohibited from sharing information with their patients.
(check out our related podcast: Is a Concierge Practice Model Right for You?)