Dr. Thomas Jeffries knows from experience that the bulk of the medical issues his patients face can be handled by a primary care physician.
With that in mind, his medical practice, North Raleigh Family Medicine, recently started offering a new payment option that targets patients who don’t have health insurance – as well as those who have a high-deductible plan.
For $49 a month, or $499 a year, patients get a Care Card that entitles them to a free annual physical, including the accompanying tests and additional office visits as needed, for $20 each. Ten routine tests – including strep, blood sugar and cholesterol – and an electrocardiogram also are free as needed.
The Care Card program is the brainchild of Physician Care Direct, a Cary startup whose ambitious goal is to overhaul the way consumers pay for primary care one patient at a time.
“Primary care doesn’t need to be expensive, but the way we pay for it makes it expensive,” said Dr. William “B.J.” Lawson, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “If you are able to reduce the overhead of physician practices, you can have affordable, high-quality care.”
Founded in 2010, Physician Care provides software that makes it simple for physicians to offer the Care Card as well as providing marketing support. Its staff of eight – five partners plus three full-time contractors – are in the early stages of promoting the concept.