Doctor offering unlimited care for monthly fee, help patients avoid surprise billing
What about paying $100 a month for unlimited primary care? That’s what one Atlanta doctor is offering to stay in business and help patients avoid surprise medical bills.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Forget about insurance and the headaches that come with it. What about paying $100 a month for unlimited primary care?
That’s what one Atlanta doctor is offering to stay in business and help patients avoid surprise medical bills.
Lawmakers are also trying to ensure there’s transparency when it comes to your medical bills.
For the last two months, Dr. Nick Beaulieu has been able to see his patients however they want, as many times as they want, for $100 a month.
“It’s unlimited care, so it doesn’t mean you have to come in, but you can get a text and email, you can do whatever it is that produces efficiency,” said Dr. Nick Beaulieu with Highland Urgent Care and Family Medicine.
His Atlanta practice has served the community for 19 years.
But recently they decided to stop accepting private insurance and move to a fee-based service to keep their doors open.
“This is survival. The reason why we don’t have community primary care physicians anymore is that the model is no longer functional,” said Dr. Beaulieu.
He says while the monthly fee model is a way to weather labor costs and inflation, it also means no surprises for the patients, meaning no co-pays, deductibles, or mysterious bills.
“For the first time in medicine there is transparency around the billing,” said Dr. Beaulieu.
It’s something lawmakers are working to strengthen this legislative session.
“Often people don’t even know there is such thing as an in or out-of-network ambulance company,” said State Rep. Michelle Au.
Au, who is also a practicing physician, is sponsoring a bill that would protect patients from surprise billing.
“The bill would ensure the insurance company would cover the cost of the emergency medical transport, as though they are in network, at in-network rates,” said Rep. Au
She says the mere surprise in the cost of coverage will push some people to avoid critical care.
“I don’t want to be the next patient who gets stuck with a $2,000 or $5,000 bill, so they avoid medical care and end up having much worse outcomes.”
Another bill moving through the legislature would require nonparticipating providers, prior to performing any healthcare services, to notify a covered person if the services will be $100 or more in out-of-pocket costs.
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