Advocates push for direct primary care model as solution to rising health care costs

Family physician John Blanchard, M.D., has been pushing the direct primary care service concept of concierge medicine for more than 14 years through his Premier Private Physicians PLC office in Troy.

As a private physician who doesn't bill health insurers for services, Blanchard sells subscriptions for primary care services to patients, mostly executives, at about $200 per month. The subscriptions cover a catalog of primary care services, limited diagnostic tests and extended time with a medical doctor.

His patients usually carry health insurance, so if a referral to a specialist or diagnostic test is required, Blanchard helps his patient find the right provider.

But Blanchard said if health insurers offer high-deductible health insurance plans that cover the concierge services or if a self-insured employer offered the service in its health benefits plan, he and other physicians could lower their monthly fees to about $100.

One source said Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will likely not offer such an insurance package because direct primary care does not fit well with its efforts to encourage primary care physicians to develop patient-centered medical homes.

Blue Cross officials declined to comment specifically but said it doesn't offer this type of plan, but it continues to evaluate it. 

Go to top