When we think of a concierge, most people think of a luxury service with someone you call to get restaurant or theater reservations. Concierge healthcare works the same way. You call someone up and get a doctor's appointment in less time because you are a member of a private club that charges a membership fee instead of requiring health insurance.

Why Do Doctors Offer Concierge healthcare?
Doctors offer concierge services for a variety of reasons. A big one is that the higher fee allows doctors to spend more time with patients while also avoiding having insurance companies as the intermediary. Some concierge doctors make house calls, give out their cell phone numbers for speedy contact and provide healthy lifestyle counseling.

The Clock Is Not Ticking
All the money that is spent on concierge services goes directly toward paying for the medical care and other expenses incurred at that office. Operating on a concierge clinic basis allows doctors to save some cash and cut down on staff that would normally deal with processing insurance claims. Concierge care costs typically range from $1,000 to $20,000 per year depending on a number of factors, not least of which is the services offered.

Comparing Concierge Healthcare to the Cost of Health Insurance
Comparing concierge healthcare to a more traditional health insurance plan depends on the policy choices you have available to you. Since health insurance prices vary based on the insurance your company or you personally buy, let's look at three examples:

1.You could work for a company that gives you free access to a health insurance plan that covers pretty much anything you need, from primary care, to chiropractic visits, to hospitalization. Co-pays are generally $20 to $40 per visit. If you normally visit your doctor twice a year at a rate of $20 per visit, then concierge care would have to be less than $40 per year to even out financially. (For more insight, read 20 Ways To Save On Medical Bills.)

2. You could also have access to a plan that offers all of these services for $150 per month. Co-pays are generally $20 to $40 per visit. Your plan costs you $1,800 per year whether you see the doctor or not. If a concierge plan costs less than this amount, you are saving money versus the health insurance plan option.

3. You could have no health insurance. A primary doctor's visit could cost around $100, maybe up to $200 with basic lab work. If you saw a doctor twice a year, concierge care would have to cost less than $400 to be worth it on a strictly financial basis.

Concierge services vary based on the following factors:

What Services are Covered
You may be getting the services of a clinic or a primary doctor who only deals with cough, colds, flus and referrals to specialists not covered under concierge healthcare. If you have a serious illness, you could be out thousands out of your pocket without supplemental health insurance. In some cases, concierge doctors offer hybrid plans where your concierge membership pays for your office visits, but you can still bill your insurance for lab tests and blood work.

Availability of the Doctor
Concierge healthcare is a service industry as much as it is a medical one. Don't choose a concierge clinic if you can't get what you want. Many people look for concierge healthcare that offers longer doctor visits, last minute appointments, round-the-clock contact information, delivery of prescriptions, house calls and other services.

There are other alternatives to concierge healthcare where you can get some of the features of concierge healthcare while still staying within the bounds of your current health insurance plan.

Find a Caring Doctor Within Your Current Plan
All doctors are different. You may be able to find a doctor within your insurance plan with whom you can develop a wonderful doctor patient rapport.

Nurse lines
Many doctors' offices offer nurse lines where you can get answers to your health questions. The nurse may be able to get you a quicker doctor's appointment if it's determined that you have a serious illness.

Buy Catastrophic Illness Insurance in Addition to Concierge Service
If you have concierge healthcare, you can opt for a healthcare plan that protects you and your finances if you become seriously ill. In this case, you should add up the price of concierge care plus catastrophic illness insurance when analyzing the cost. You still have to pay out of pocket for seeing specialists such as allergists or chiropractors.

Concierge healthcare is a phenomenal service for getting extra attention from your doctor when you need it. In most cases, however, it isn't a complete substitute for health insurance. At minimum, get catastrophic health insurance in addition to concierge healthcare to protect yourself if you do get a serious illness.

For further reading, check out 20 Ways To Save On Medical Bills, Get Sale Prices On Healthcare With Discount Plans and Intro To Insurance: Health Insurance.

Related Articles
  1. Investing

    How To Make Sure Your Healthcare Costs Do Not Ruin Your Retirement

    The best proactive plan of action for a stable retirement is to understand medical costs, plan ahead, invest properly, and consider supplemental insurance.
  2. Investing News

    Zika: Study Says This Device Could Protect You

    New research just uncovered an inexpensive, commercially available device that might help fight off the mosquito that carries the dreaded Zika virus.
  3. Personal Finance

    Zika Virus: Latest Advice on Staying Safe

    Zika has hit the U.S. Here’s a quick review of what’s known about the virus, how it spreads, who’s at highest risk and how to avoid it.
  4. Investing

    3 Small Steps to Maximize Your Investing Goals

    Instead of starting the New Year with ambitious resolutions, why not taking smaller manageable steps that can have a real impact.
  5. Products and Investments

    Cash Value vs Term Life Insurance: Which is Best?

    The debate between cash value life insurance and term insurance plus an investment plan is an ongoing one. Here's a look at both sides of the argument.
  6. Investing

    What Investors Need to Know About Returns in 2016

    Last year wasn’t a great one for investors seeking solid returns, so here are three things we believe all investors need to know about returns in 2016.
  7. Investing News

    How Zika Is Infecting the Travel Industry

    The Zika virus is declared a public health emergency as airlines, cruise lines and other travel companies accommodate customers and assess the damage.
  8. Stock Analysis

    The Top 5 Micro Cap Biotechnology Stocks for 2016 (BSTC, OSIR)

    Discover some of the most promising micro-cap biotechnology stocks that investors can consider for their 2016 investment portfolio.
  9. Insurance

    Getting Your (Insurance) House in Order

    From starting a family to retirement, insurance can play a role in taking care of financial needs. This piece looks at some of the choices you can make.
  10. Stock Analysis

    In Pain? Sanofi Has a Cure for That (SNY)

    Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical firm, is the name behind some of the drugs you use every day. Here's how it operates.
  1. Does dental insurance cover implants?

    Dental implants have become a widely used procedure in dentistry. Despite their popularity, however, they tend to not be ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Does dental insurance cover dentures?

    Most full dental insurance policies include some restorative coverage, usually meaning that up to 50% of the cost of dentures ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Can CareCredit be used for family members?

    CareCredit has become a widely used option when it comes to paying for medical procedures, primarily procedures not typically ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. Can a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) be used for dental?

    Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) can be used to pay for dental expenses including deductibles and co-payments with pretax ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. Does dental insurance cover braces?

    Most regular dental plans cover little to none of the costs of braces. The primary focus of regular dental plans is prevention ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. Does dental insurance cover crowns?

    Dental insurance coverage may vary according to the type of plan and the level of benefits that you have elected. Most dental ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center