When considering why healthcare is so expensive, there is, unfortunately, no straightforward answer that will likely satisfy.

Healthcare by its nature is a complex and multifaceted industry with many factors contributing to its high cost, including:

  1. Technology: Advances in medical technology have led to better diagnostic tools and treatments, but they also come with high costs. For example, the cost of medical imaging equipment and software can be very high.
  2. Administrative costs: The administrative costs associated with running a healthcare system can be very high. These costs include billing, claims processing, and regulatory compliance.
  3. Prescription drugs: The cost of prescription drugs has been increasing rapidly in recent years, and this can be a major expense for many people.
  4. Medical malpractice: Medical malpractice insurance can be very expensive, and this cost is passed on to patients through higher healthcare costs.
  5. Aging population: As the population ages, the demand for healthcare services increases, and this can lead to higher costs.
  6. Chronic disease management: The management of chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease can be very expensive, as these conditions require ongoing care and monitoring.
  7. Lack of transparency: In many cases, patients are not aware of the cost of healthcare services until they receive a bill, which can lead to sticker shock and difficulty in planning for healthcare expenses.

What can be done to mitigate the cost of healthcare?

One option that is gaining traction is pairing direct primary care (DPC) membership with a high deductible/catastrophic plan. DPC is a healthcare model where patients pay a monthly or yearly fee directly to their primary care physician in exchange for unlimited access to primary care services. 

Here are some ways a DPC membership can save you money:

  1. No Insurance Premiums: With DPC, patients pay a fixed fee directly to their primary care physician, eliminating the need for expensive insurance premiums.
  2. No Co-Pays: DPC patients typically do not have to pay co-pays for office visits or other primary care services, which can save money over time.
  3. Lower Prescription Costs: DPC physicians often negotiate directly with pharmacies to secure lower prices for medications, which can save patients money on prescription drugs.
  4. Fewer Specialist Visits: With a strong emphasis on preventive care and disease management, DPC physicians can help patients avoid costly specialist visits or hospitalizations. The visits are also much longer than traditional primary care doctors can offer, so more things can be discussed and addressed, and an early diagnosis is much more likely. 
  5. Access to Wholesale Labs and Radiology: DPC practices can offer wholesale pricing on lab work, imaging studies, and other diagnostic tests, which can help patients save money on these services. These costs are a fraction of what your insurance company would pay, and depending on your deductible, this could be saving you a significant amount. 
  6. Reduced Administrative Costs: DPC practices typically have lower administrative costs than traditional fee-for-service healthcare systems, which can help keep costs down for patients.

A direct primary care membership can offer cost savings and greater access to primary care services. However, it’s important to note that DPC is not a substitute for health insurance and does not cover specialty care, hospitalizations, or other costly medical procedures.