Straight concierge models, Chan explained, are where physician load is reduced, patients pay a hefty annual retainer from $5,000 to $40,000, and receive a set of specialized extra services including phone and text access to the doctor. Practices either eschew insurance altogether and go cash only—or accept insurance and co-pays on top of the retainer.
The direct primary care model in comparison, is an alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing, where the patient pays a more affordable monthly, quarterly, or annual fee that covers all or most primary care services. Patients are still likely to need a high-deductible insurance policy to cover emergencies, surgeries and other specialists. This model has found a niche with middle- and lower-income patients.
Hybrid concierge models also exist. They've evolved from physicians who were committed to their patient population when deciding to turn concierge. Many doctors therefore adopted a hybrid model offering specialized care for a segment of their practice who pay a retainer, while continuing care for those who were already their patients but can't afford the concierge model.
Additionally, specialty care concierge practices are also cropping up like in psychology, where being able to text your provider and have direct access to support via video chat or phone is beneficial to patients, especially during vulnerable times. Chan said concierge models are also being specifically designed for specialists such as cardiologists, gastroenterologists and others who often provide core health services to their patients.