In Grand Junction, CO. there is a proposal that may solve the health care insurance problem: The direct primary care practices.
Appleton Clinics, for example, offers primary care for a monthly fee which allows patients unlimited visits and does not require insurance.
The idea for a such facility is not new, having originated in the 1990s. Nor is it limited to Grand Junction. There are more than six hundred primary care practices in the United States of America, serving more than 250,000 people. In Grand Junction, CO., in addition to the Appleton Clinics, there is also the Trailhead Clinics.
Dr. Craig Gustafson established Appleton Clinics about three years ago after deciding that he was spending too much time filling out paperwork for insurance companies and not enough time on actual medicine. The business model seems to be working. He has hired more primary care doctors – there are currently five – as more patients have enrolled, and he sees upwards of fourteen patients in a given day.
Depending on the patient the monthly fee ranges from $69 to $89 a month, and has attracted a large variety of patients: Individuals who work for small employers, self-employed patients, and lower-income citizens.
Despite the modest monthly fee patients to the clinics many clients have what are known as “health shares”, provided by the Christian Health Ministries, which covers the cost of a hospital visit or other needs that may be considered outside the definition of primary care.
More than one patient at the clinic has expressed their pleasure with the clinic. A test that would have cost more than $1,700 through health insurance is available through Appleton Clinics for just $250.
With more than 700 facilities in 48 states the model continues to find success as the (Un)Affordable Health Care Act is becoming more problematic.
Despite its appeal and success some question its ability to grow and endure because there are not enough doctors at participating clinics and facilities to serve everyone in a given community.
Given the failure that the (Un)Affordable Health Care Act has become it seems this might be the next best thing for affordable health care.