Over recent years the healthcare environment in conjunction with the insurance industry has been subject to significant amounts of criticism. However, this criticism is merited as the United States spends more money per capita on healthcare than any other country in the world. As a country, we spend over 15% of our GDP on healthcare. Based on these statistics alone, one might assume the United States has the best quality of care in the world. Unfortunately we all know what assuming does. The World Health Organization ranks the United States 37th in the world behind such countries as Costa Rica (36th), Dominican Republic (35th) and Saudi Arabia (26th) to name a few. With the passage of the healthcare bill: H.R.3590 – Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, people are concerned their insurance premiums are going to soar upwards. Additionally, due to the additional burden of patients that will be covered under the plan, quality of care may be further compromised due to longer wait times. This does paint a relatively gloomy picture of the current healthcare environment in the United States. However, relatively unknown to many Americans, there is another legitimate option out there: concierge medicine.
Concierge medicine is defined as is a relationship between a patient and a primary care physician in which the patient pays an annual fee or retainer. In general, Concierge physicians care for fewer patients than in a conventional practice. This is becoming all the more prevalent as many are concerned that traditional doctors will be overwhelmed by the additional volume of customers that are insured under the new healthcare bill. However, the primary benefit of concierge medicine is the personalized care the patient stands to receive. No longer will the patient have to wait in the waiting room for 30 minutes past their appointment time. Furthermore, most doctors that are practicing concierge medicine commonly give out their phone numbers to their patients. This allows for around the clock access to a physici