Discounted Doctors

Thursday, May 12, 2011 - 9:14am

Couple promotes health plan that cuts out insurance companies.

A California couple thinks they have a solution to the rising cost of health care.

Medical membership plans are designed for people who have lost their jobs and have no insurance, and part time workers who may not get full benefits.

Patients can save a lot of money by signing up for direct primary care because they can eliminate the middle man, in this case, the insurance company.

But is it really working?

Richard Gregson says he couldn't be happier with his medical care.

His new doctor helped him recover from walking pneumonia.

Richard, who's retired and without insurance right now, thought he might be recovering from a hefty bill, but because he is a MedLion patient he only pays a $49 per month membership fee and $10 per visit.

"I'm feeling better. I'm much healthier and I don't have to worry about who I go to when I am sick," he says.

Dr. Samir Qamar and his wife started MedLion just over a year ago.

Their medical membership practice grew so fast they just opened a second office serving mostly the underinsured and the unemployed with no insurance.

How can he afford to keep patient's rates so low?

"Insurance paperwork makes up to 40 percent of a doctor's overhead," Dr. Qamar explains. "We can save on that by billing the patient directly. There is no paperwork, re-billing, or coding and we don't need to hire staff to do that either."

Because this practice is not bound by insurance regulations, Dr. Qamar doesn't have to see thousands of patients to turn a profit.

He says he won't accept more than 2,000 patients, less than the national average.

With fewer patients, he has more time with each.

Most visits last 30 to 45 minutes.

Dr. Qamar also helps patients navigate other medical services.

If you need a specialist, MedLion will help you find a doctor who offers a discount to cash paying patients.

It's not just the care that has left Richard breathing easier.

"You'll walk out feeling, 'I'm ok and I'm not going to fall through the cracks," he says.

MedLion still encourages patients to take out a high deductible insurance plan so they'll be covered in case they need surgery or have a major medical emergency.

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