Seniors Is Your Healthcare Getting in the Way of Your Health?
According to 81% of retirees, good health is the most important factor of a good retirement. But good health requires good health care, and that is one thing that can be nearly impossible to find.
Each year, around 8.36 million people need one of the five main long-term care services. With so many people requiring care, it’s no wonder our healthcare providers are inundated with patients. For those looking for a higher quality of care, a new option is taking the spotlight: concierge medical services.
What are medical concierge services?
Medical concierge services fall into four basic models: travel medical care, private health advisories, private physician practices, and total care platform. The most limited version is the travel medical care – – think of it as access to a phone operator with a database of foreign physicians and hospitals in front of them. On the other end of the spectrum is the total care platform, offering the most comprehensive form of concierge medical services. Between the two you have private health advisories and private physician practices.
With private health advisories, you have access to that same network of foreign physicians and hospitals along with individualized physical exams, help with disease management, and access to electronic medical records. A private physician concierge medical practice is in essence a physician who is kept on retainer. In exchange for a monthly fee, you have access to your personal physician anytime you need him or her. You are also guaranteed faster call backs and more personal interactions.
The total care platform includes all of the services offered through the other three medical concierge services platforms but also includes additional services such as longevity and contingency plans, and monitors which constantly track a patient’s vital signs, which can be hugely beneficial when caring for seniors.
Who should consider concierge medical services?
The short answer is everyone should consider medical concierge services, but none more so than those who need it the most often. As more and more of the population is reaching senior citizenship, the need for responsive, individualized care is growing. Doctors are becoming inundated with patients and patients are becoming impatient with hospitals and overworked doctors. Adequate elder care demands fast response times and regular access to a doctor. There’s no telling when a bad step will turn into a fractured him or a cold will become pneumonia.
Seniors age 65 and older spent around $18,424 each on health care, be it getting help at home from senior helpers or hospital care. In 2013, The Wall Street Journal found that two-thirds of the 5,500 medical concierge services practices they surveyed charged less than $135 per month for their services. That comes out to roughly $1,620 per year, a far cry from the average $18,424. True, the monthly price of $135 doesn’t account for the cost of the services actually rendered, but it does leave $16,804 to spend on such services before reaching the $18,424 mark. What’s more: many medical concierge providers offer the same services for less than the average hospital.
A sampling of medical concierge services will find services ranging from $400 for a colonoscopy all the way down to $5.00 for a prostrate cancer test. At a hospital, you’ll be paying $175 to have a prostate cancer test or $2,000 for a colonoscopy. Even a PAP smear costs $92 at a hospital. A $350 mammogram at a hospital could be completed for $80 by medical concierge services.
How do these medical concierge services manage to keep fees so low? By cutting out the middleman: insurance providers. By eliminating the costs of insurance billing, medical concierge services are able to save 40% on overhead expenses, a savings which they can then transfer to their patients through lower costs of services.
If you’re leery of doctors who don’t take insurance, don’t be. Many patients are finding medical concierge services more accessible than traditional doctors because they aren’t as flooded with patients. Some insurers even offer concierge medical services as an option under their coverage.
Medical concierge services are the luxury doctors of the 21st century without the luxury price tag. For seniors in need of health care at home, switching to a concierge doctor is only logical.