Putting the “Care” Back Into Family Health Care
posted by: Amber Johnson
We have all had to visit urgent care or the emergency room for ourselves or a family member because our clinic is closed or we can’t get a doctor appointment when we need it. And when you do make an appointment, you frequently have to schedule well in advance, endure long wait times and very short appointments. Even with health insurance, those medical visits can leave families with expensive co-pays and high medical bills.
So how do you solve this health care rut for your family? Mile High Mamas recently sat down with Dr. Mark Tomasulo, founder and chief medical officer of Denver-based PeakMed, to discuss whether direct primary care (DPC) is a viable solution for health care among Colorado families.
Mile High Mamas: What is direct primary care?
Dr. Mark Tomasulo: Direct primary care (DPC) removes insurance from health care allowing patients to access primary care medicine for a monthly, quarterly or annual fee. DPC improves the connection between a doctor and patient. Patients benefit from cost savings and better access to their physician to focus on preventative care.
For example, PeakMed’s monthly plans begin at just $79 for a single member. For that fee, you can see your PeakMed physician as often as you like with no additional fees, no co-pays and no insurance.
MHM: What is PeakMed?
MT: PeakMed is a membership-based solution similar to DPC. We strive to solve two problems in the health care industry: affordability and access to care. Bypassing insurance allows PeakMed members and providers the necessary time for appointments with no deductibles, co-pays or insurance required. Through PeakMed in-person visits, as well as email, phone, text or video visits, PeakMed members can see their doctors during same-day or next-day appointments. Members pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited visits, 24-7 access.
MHM: Is PeakMed health insurance?
MT: PeakMed is not health insurance and does not bill insurance. It is membership-based primary care. We recommend having insurance in addition to PeakMed, in case of a major medical event, like a severe injury or illness.
MHM: If we already have health insurance, how will we save money by adding the cost of DPC to our health care?
MT: By pairing a DPC practice, like PeakMed, with a high-deductible insurance plan, the cost combined can be less than a traditional Gold or Platinum health plan. Without PeakMed, you would pay deductibles and co-pays for doctor visits, racking up thousands more dollars in health care expenses. With PeakMed, for example, a family of four can see their doctor as much as they want for less than $4,000 a year, about half of the deductible for many insurance plans. With PeakMed, you see your doctor when you want to or need to, not just when you can afford to.
MHM: Who is DPC an ideal health care solution for and what ailments can be treated?
MT: DPC is for people who are tired of long wait times, short appointments and going to urgent care or the ER because they can’t see their physician. DPC doctors typically treat colds, the flu, strep throat, ear infections, rashes, ear, eye, skin and sinus infections, and sprains and strains. Additionally, DPC practices offer EKG access, wart and skin-tags removal, weight loss and overall health management and preventative care, like annual and school physicals.
For some DPC practices, prescriptions, vaccinations and lab work may be included in the membership fee, however, at PeakMed, we offer these services at low, wholesale cost.
MHM: How can I get signed up for a DPC?
MT: First, check with your employer. Many companies offer DPC, like PeakMed, as a complement to your health insurance. Second, join a DPC on your own as an individual or family.
With this year’s open enrollment period underway, families should be aware of every health care option available, including DPC practices in Colorado, like PeakMed with locations in Colorado Springs and Englewood and in 2018, Littleton. When poring over your choices this year, consider the numerous advantages that DPC practices offer to keep you and your family healthy.
In partnership with Mile High Mamas