With the limitations of the American health care system obvious to everyone, why not try something new? The Freelancers Union, a fast-growing national entity serving the one in three adult Americans who now work freelance, has added an innovative twist to the reasonably-priced health insurance it already offers to members who are located in the New York City area. If this works, look to see it tried around the country.
Through its current health insurance packages the union already covers visits to primary care doctors and specialists with additional “co-pays.” Now, the union is opening its own medical office, which will offer members free visits to a primary care doctor, with no copays or other restrictions.
Obviously, for this to work, the union and its insurer must save enough money elsewhere to make up the cost of the co-pays. According to the Freelancers Union and their insurance company, which is affiliated with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, that’s exactly what they expect to happen: “It’s rare for doing good to align with financial benefits,” said Dr. Neil Patel, who runs the new medical practice, called Freelancers Medical.
Basically, the idea is that a more flexible, more humane, and more responsive medical practice is actually a money-saver. If primary care physicians are more attentive to the needs of patients, and more emphasis is placed on prevention, the thinking goes, insurers’ outlays to expensive specialists will drop.
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