Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Medical Savings Accounts enable Retainer- Based Medicine

It's interesting to see that families in Personal Pediatrics Affiliate Physicians groups are utilizing Medical Savings Accounts to pay physician retainer fees. To enable this process to be easier, a no-brainer, Medical Savings accounts are linked to a Visa card, such that these funds can be utilized for any non-reimbursible medical expense. So we are finding that the retainer fees are coming out of pre-tax money. This combined with a 4,000/yr high deductible plan is quite cost effective. So a family of four with two kids over two may have an attentive physician providing house calls for illness and comprehensive in home care for well visit yearly for less that the typical 10 to 12,000 dollar a year plan. What is also interesting is that the full coverage plan rises at a much higher rate than the high deductible plan. As financial pressures move families into high deductible plans, the retainer based model looks more and more appealing for those that are sensitive to cost. Families that prefer consist care by the same MD without a high percentage of care being delivered by nurse practicioner midlevels and varying physicians, will choose the Personal Pediatric house call retainer based or concierge medicine model for their children. Personal Pediatrics is an administrative support system based in Saint Louis, Missouri for pediatricians ready to convert their practices to a simpler patient centered approach with minimal dependence on insurers. Natalie Hodge MD

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