HealthDay News — Direct primary care is a relatively new option that provides care for many Americans, including some who do not have health insurance, according to a report published by Kaiser Health News.

Under the practice model, patients are charged a monthly fee for basic, office-based medical care as well as telephone and after-hours physician access. The model is supported as a practice option by the American Academy of Family Physicians, but it is not a form of medical insurance.

Nearly 3% of family physicians nationwide practice direct primary care. For patients who are uninsured, getting regular primary care through the model rather than avoiding the doctor entirely may help to avert costlier complications. Physicians practicing direct primary care recommend that patients have some kind of catastrophic coverage for major health expenses.

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“For routine regular care [for uninsured individuals], it may work out,” Mohan Nadkarni, MD, who co-founded the Charlottesville (Virginia) Free Clinic, said in the report. “But it’s gambling that you’re not going to get sicker and need further care.”

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Flat-fee primary care helps fill niche for Texas’ uninsured [press release]. Washington, DC. Kaiser Health News. Published October 3, 2017. Accessed October 12, 2017.