WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — As health insurance premiums rise and the health care bill faces uncertainty, some Kansans are looking for other health care alternatives.
One in particular is called direct primary care. According to practicing physicians, it’s the “Netflix of medicine.”
Direct primary care is an insurance-free model that charges a flat monthly membership based on age.
Atlas MD is a direct primary care practice in Wichita. According to their website, kids are $10 and most adults are $50. There is also no copay.
This monthly fee allows patients to get access to as much primary health care as they need.
“Any procedure we do is included free of charge,” said Dr. Josh Umbehr, at Atlas MD. “So things like stitches, biopsies, joint injections, EKGs, minor surgical procedures are all included free.”
It also partially covers medications and lab services. Direct primary care does not cover hospital visits or visits to specialists. However, Umbehr said the services can benefit patients with a chronic health conditions — for example, someone with cancer.
“They’re spending money on labs, more often than regular people,” he said. “They might be on chemotherapy, which makes them nauseous, and the main medicine for that is $120 with a coupon at a box pharmacy and it’s $3 wholesale with us.”
According to Umbehr, Atlas MD is gaining more patients – as many people are trying to search for affordable health care.
“What we see is a big push from patients to find direct care models, because now they can have a high deductible insurance plan, which makes the premium from health insurance affordable, but they can combine that with a direct primary care model so that the care they actually need is affordable and accessible,” he said.
Umbehr added that he recommends his patients to not replace their medical insurance with direct primary care, because without some type of insurance, patients can see huge bills if they become seriously injured or ill.