How Will Obamacare Affect Patients and Concierge Medicine?
With so many newly insured people, patients may find it difficult to schedule appointments with their doctor when ill or in need of routine care. When one is able to get an appointment, the patient most likely will not be receiving the same type of personalized care that he or she may be used to. The Affordable Care Act is expected to cause a shortage of doctors, and doctors in current practices may begin to feel overworked and stressed. The Association of American Medical Colleges estimates that there will be a shortage of 91,500 doctors by 2020 as the Obamacare insurance coverage provisions are implemented and 30 million Americans become eligible for health insurance coverage. Therefore, concierge medicine popularity may also be driven by the doctors themselves. Traditional doctors who want to continue to have a personal relationship with their patients will find it very difficult to deal with the new high volume of patients on a regular basis. In addition, new Obamacare-mandated plans will almost invariably feature higher premiums and deductibles, leaving patients with more out-of-pocket expenses. Faced with the need to pay more of their own money for medical care, patients should become more educated and selective about their options. Concierge medicine provides the most value for the out-of-pocket health care dollar.
The Benefits of Concierge Medicine
Concierge doctors as a group, and house call doctors specifically, offer a variety of benefits that patients simply cannot receive with a traditional doctor. Aside from being able to provide patients with the care they need within the comfort and privacy of their own homes, house call doctors can offer patients same-day or next-day appointments – patients will not have to worry about scheduling an appointment weeks or months in advance. Concierge medicine also provides patients with the opportunity to build a relationship and receive personalized care. With the number of patients rising, traditional doctors probably will not be able to provide the same tailored care that patients expect. House call doctors also offer unparalleled levels of privacy for their patients.
As the number of patients continues to increase and the shortage of doctors worsens, more and more people are likely to be willing to pay a reasonable premium to continue receiving the same service they do today over the prospect of longer wait times and lower quality of care.