Unlike traditional physicians who receive payment for medical services by health insurance companies, concierge doctors charge patients an annual retainer to performs specific heath care services, such as comprehensive physical exams, according to AARP. Most medical insurance plans do not cover the retainer amount for concierge medical services.
Many concierge doctors place a limit on the number of patients accepted into a concierge medical practice, explains AARP. This means that concierge doctors can spend additional time building relationships with patients and have the time to order and review comprehensive medical tests. Patients can contact most concierge doctors, day or night, if an emergency occurs. In addition, patients typically experience shorter waiting room times and can schedule appointments on short notice.
Annual retainers for concierge medical services do not include out-of-office visits, emergency room care, specific tests or major surgery, claims AARP. Patients must either maintain a health insurance plan that covers emergency medical care, surgery and medical tests, or pay out-of-pocket. However, some concierge doctors operate hybrid medical practices. These practices provide concierge medical services, which are covered by an annual retainer, along with additional services covered by most health insurance plans.
Patients considering concierge medical services must first meet with a concierge doctor to determine if the types of services included in the retainer provide the necessary medical care, advises AARP.