If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught us, it is the importance of health and the need to take care of it. It has also brought to the fore our preparedness for health contingencies from emotional, physical, and financial points of view.
In line with this, the demand for health insurance has been on the rise. Even then, it remains confusing and rather expensive for many. An alternative to it that has propped up in the interim is DPC or ‘Direct Primary Care.
However, much like other ways, DPC also comes with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. Let’s understand what the term means, as well as direct primary care pros and cons.
What Is Direct Primary Care?
As opposed to traditional health insurance, DPC aims to connect patients with primary care physicians directly. The presence of insurance companies is eliminated from the equation and individuals directly pay doctors for access to standard primary care services.
A typical DPC practice involves a contract between a patient and his/her physician for periodic payments or a monthly fee in exchange for, advanced and highly personalized primary care access.
In other words, the DPC model is simpler, hassle-free, and also advantageous for businesses in several ways.
Let’s study the various pros and cons of direct primary care.
5 Direct Primary Care Pros And Cons For Businesses
In theory, DPC is great. It eliminates third parties and establishes a direct doctor-patient relationship at an affordable cost. However, it doesn’t provide holistic health care and is often viewed as an interim model which is best supplemented with health insurance.
Let’s go through the key pros and cons of primary care practices:
5 Pros Of Direct Primary Care
The following are 5 pros of direct primary care:
The direct primary care model comes at a lower cost as compared to health insurance. This enables companies to save on healthcare costs by a great margin.
2. Easy access to doctors
With DPC, employers can provide their staff with easier access to primary care. This allows them to seek physician support in case of unusual health circumstances before they turn into serious contingencies.
3. Simpler process
As opposed to health insurance, there is no need to issue claims and await clearance under the DPC. The process is simpler and less time-consuming as compared to typical health insurance schemes.
4. No middlemen
Since insurance providers are not part of the setup, DPC is more manageable and enables companies to reduce the effort and costs that go towards maintaining health insurance services.
5. Quicker diagnosis
The whole premise of DPC is centered around quick and personalized diagnosis. It is patient-focused and enables employees to seek urgent care in case of health problems. This enables companies to avoid absenteeism at the workplace and the costs associated with it.
5 Cons Of Direct Primary Care
The following are the cons of direct primary care:
1. No tax benefits
Providing health insurance to employees is a perquisite or a business expense and hence is eligible for deductions under the Income Tax Act. It allows companies to save substantially in taxes.
2. Absence of holistic healthcare
Although direct primary care coverage is great, it may not be enough. Hospitalization expenses, surgery costs, ambulance charges, and room rents are not included under DPC, and hence it isn’t suitable in terms of holistic health care.
3. More expenses for employers
Since DPC only covers primary care, costs for severe health conditions and unforeseen emergencies need to be borne by the employees. This means an added burden on the employees, which could ultimately spiral in their work/productivity as well.
4. Higher retention costs
Employees these days are looking for several fringe benefits at work that are provided over and above their CTCs and complete health care is one of them. Since DPC only covers primary care, it may not be enough to retain or attract top talent.
5. Legally insufficient
The Indian Government has made it mandatory for businesses to provide health insurance post the Covid-19 pandemic. Only extending primary care is therefore not enough in terms of legal compliance.
Is Direct Primary Care Worth It For Businesses?
Due to its patient-centric focus and low costs, direct primary care is a good option for businesses. However, it cannot be viewed as a substitute for employee health insurance, but rather as a supplement to it.
While companies can benefit from the DPC model, they lose out on the tax and legal benefits that come with group health insurance. Further, a good health insurance plan provides holistic health privileges as opposed to DPC, which only focuses on primary care.
In other words, primary care is a great prevention technique, but it is health insurance that provides the complete cure in case of serious health emergencies.
Due to its overall health benefits, a group health plan also enables lower absenteeism, greater employee morale, and the facilitation of better company culture – all of which may or may not be achieved with DPC alone.
What Is The Best Alternative For Direct Primary Care?
Direct primary care aims to provide quick, personalized, and affordable health care to employees. These benefits and more can be achieved via a sound group health insurance policy as well.
At Loop, we provide primary care as part of our group health insurance plans. This enables employers to extend timely doctor support to employees at zero cost – all while enjoying the many advantages of a holistic insurance program.
In addition to 24/7 doctor consultations in-person as well as on call, our group health insurance schemes also include unlimited mental health support along with complimentary wellness sessions and more.
To know more about our primary care inclusive group health insurance plans, reach out to us now.