A short while back I posted a press release about the No Insurance Club and this week I had an opportunity to talk with Chad Harris, Director of the No Insurance Club to find out a little more about what they have to offer. You may or may not be familiar with concierge or boutique medical practices as they have been around for a few years, but for many, the price is out of range. The No Insurance Club is an affordable solution for many, as you are getting your “basic” preventive and general medical conditions taken care of by your physician at a reasonable cost, and you know what the cost is going to be up front instead of the potential of receiving a balance due bill.
In Gilbert, Arizona the concept was born from an physician, Dr. Sam Sannoufi, MD, who is also an ER physician with post cards, very simple and the concept has grown from there. It appears to be a win-win, as the patient benefits and the doctor has his money up front instead of perhaps a 2-3 month wait for the money to come from insurance companies and Medicare for example.
From the Website:
No Insurance Club members only pay ONE ANNUAL FEE for the benefits. Whether you have medical insurance or not, No Insurance Club is the perfect option for you, your family, or your business. Remember, there are No Co-Pays, No Deductibles and No Monthly Premiums... Ever. Sign Up Now
Joining the Club is easy. Just click the sign up tab and follow the instructions. You can view each location in our network, and see exactly what services they provide at that specific location. Simply sign the Patient Agreement form, pay your yearly membership fee, and you're covered.
On with the Interview:
This almost sounds too good to be true, is the club open to anyone?
The club is open for anyone to join. Again, it is designed to take of care preventive and general physician’s office visits. With many individuals ending up unemployed with today’s economy and job cuts, this is a place where many never thought they would end up. Insurance rates are also skyrocketing and is becoming less affordable. Our focus today is with the family or general practitioner and there are plans to expand this into specialty areas as it grows. A patient with serious health issues beyond what is covered under general services would still need to consult with a physician outside of what is covered, but on the average a person makes 3.8 visits a year to the doctor, and the plan for an individual gives a person 12 visits a year. Here’s a brief breakdown on how it works:
Single Membership - $480.00
Couple Membership – $%80.00
Family Membership - $680.00
Is it just the cost of an office visit that is covered only?
There are additional inexpensive labs and medications that are provided. The list below will give you a couple examples.
(Additional Services) - Prescriptions - $5.00 and Labs - $14.95
What does it cost for a doctor to join the plan? Is there a large administrative cost as some of what I have seen from other concierge plans take a good chunk of money for overhead?
The program is free for doctors to join. The money made from administering the plan for us is pretty minimal and as an example for a single membership of $480.00, we take $80.00 and the rest goes to the physician. Patients are enrolled in the data base and we provide a web site dashboard for physicians to log in. We are not there to supply overhead or to try to tell the physician how to run their business better, but rather an alternative to dealing with insurance companies and helping those who cannot afford insurance, take care of their health. There are no co-pays.
As you may have read in the news of late, many are not going to the doctor as they cannot afford it. The physician has the option of accepting or not accepting any patient in the plan. In many instances there are patients who used to have insurance but can’t afford the individual visits and medication costs so this again works well in making it affordable. We do suggest to patients to have a catastrophic policy to cover major events if they can afford it, as this once more is just regular and preventive health care. One other item that works well for both the physicians and patients is the ability to take care of multiple issues on one visit, unlike what is done with insurance carriers as in many instances another appointment is required to address a second or third health issue, so you have more appointments at the doctor’s office that could be covered at one time.
The website also offers a calculator for physicians to get a rough idea as to what their income could be with the No Insurance Club. Without having to schedule additional appointments time and money is saved . In addition, there’s no billing to be done as the money has already been paid up front so it can stand to take a bite out of collections expenses.
If a patient had a chronic condition outside of the areas covered here with general health care, could they still become a member?
Yes, they could still enroll and take advantage of what the program has to offer, but again with health care areas outside of what we cover, visits to specialists, or a medical emergency is not in the program, and again any physician can opt out with any patient with the plan. If this does occur, there is a one time no-charge allowance for this. This is again covered by the annual agreement, so if a 2nd change within the year is made, there’s an administrative fee for a 2nd change within the one year cycle.
One other item to think about is that current physicians might want to offer this to existing patients, as chances are there’s already a patient-physician relationship established and for those having trouble paying cash for their visits, let’s say due to losing a job, this again could be the win-win solution for both. The website, once a physician is enrolled also has a listing of patients in their local area.
Is this only a “retail” solution for individuals to join the club on their own? What if I worked for a company who could only provide catastrophic coverage and I wanted to get a plan like this to work for me?
Yes there’s nothing stopping an individual from joining the club on their own, however, we do have another area of focus for businesses too. If a large enough group through an employer were to enroll, monthly payroll deductions would be allowed for employees for their cost. Businesses today are the driving force behind insurance and healthcare and we have even seen in the news, companies like Cisco that have their own on-premise doctor’s offices, but for the small to medium employer this is not a cost effective option and this is where we can help out. Employers all over are unhappy with the ever growing cost of health insurance contracts and the stipulations involved to participate are growing in order to secure a lower rate on the contract.
Some day you could even see businesses perhaps purchasing hospitals! We believe what we have to offer is also another win-win situation, and it is involving the doctor in the employee’s healthcare at the relationship level, without 3rd parties also getting involved in order for the employee to have some basic healthcare options.
Next week we will be participating a the SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Conference in Las Vegas. We will have a booth and be introducing our services to those in Human Resources.
“The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India.”
What if a patient required more than 12 visits in a year, let’s say, would they be disqualified from participa
Again as mentioned, this is completely up to the individual doctor’s office and there are additional plans to cover this if needed. We are not there to run their business for them, but merely help with the affordability and practical side of general healthcare. Again, the average is less than 4 visits a year, so based on that business model, the averages should work out.
How do I gather all the information I need if I don’t see it on the website?
We have a live chat on the website and also have a toll free number for both patients and physicians to call. In addition, we post additional new developments on our blog. The video included is a patient discussing how the plan has worked for him as he suffers from diabetes.
By the way thanks for the link today too!
Thank you for you time today Chad and hopefully we have provided some good useful information for those with an affordable alternative for general healthcare. BD
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