'Concierge' Medicine Gets More Affordable But Is Still Not Widespread

Some people spend $200 a month on the golf course or on a fancy cable TV package, says David Westbrook, a hospital executive in Kansas City, Mo. His splurge? He pays Dr. John Dunlap $133 a month for what he considers exceptional primary care.
"I have the resources to spend a little extra money on my health care to my primary care physician relationship," Westbrook says. "Because I have that access — and am very proactive in managing my personal health — I think I'm going to be healthier."
That $133 is in addition to Westbrook's monthly insurance premium, which he still needs to cover whatever Dunlap can't handle in his primary care practice, such as specialist visits, hospital care and more.
For that fee, he has access to "concierge medicine" perks: a long, thorough annual physical exam — lab work included, no waiting room time, same-day appointments. Any other visits during the year cost him $20. His doctor knows him and understands his medical history. If he needs an answer to a question, he can call his doctor's cellphone.
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