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

John Blanchard, M.D., doesn’t bill health insurers for services. Instead, through his Premier Private Physicians PLC office in Troy, he sells subscriptions for primary care to patients at about $200 a month. – Photo by GLENN TRIEST

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.

Some practices — estimated at up to 75 in Michigan — already offer lower monthly fees, including Jeff Huotari, M.D., at BlueSky Health in Howell. Huotari charges $30 a month for comprehensive primary care services and some procedures …

Read the full article at Crain’s Detroit Business