Employers are the principal source of health insurance in the United States1, however, most Americans are unable to afford basic health care expenses. Under the traditional fee-for-service model, individuals must meet deductibles or pay expensive copays to see a primary care physician. In addition to employees who can’t afford their health plans’ deductible and copays, there are employees who can’t afford the health plan at all or don’t qualify due to employment status (non-benefited employees). Traditional health offerings leave a large pool of people off the table and those left outside looking in still want access to healthcare coverage.
Part-time employees, 1099 workers, and individuals living in healthcare deserts can benefit from direct primary care (DPC) models. Here, we’ll explore these unique situations and how DPC may be a great alternative for these groups.
Inaccessibility in Rural America
According to a report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, rural residents are more likely to die from heart disease, cancer, and stroke than individuals living in urban areas. Due to the distance to medical providers, limited transportation, and limited appointment availabilities, many rural Americans are not able to receive preventive and screening services, urgent care, or timely treatment of illnesses2.
DPC encourages members to build relationships with their board-certified primary care physicians, in-office or virtually. This relationship is critical to a healthy life because frequent visits with primary care providers can result in lower health costs3, fewer hospitalizations4, and early detection of chronic conditions. The virtual component would be especially beneficial to members living in healthcare deserts, as they can access a physician 24/7 from their own homes. Quality primary care is now available without geographic or financial barriers.
Underinsured Retail Workers
Part-time employees often do not qualify for their employer’s health plans, leaving them to find coverage elsewhere or remain uninsured. According to a recent survey, the retail industry has the least number of qualifying employees at 55%5. DPC would be a great alternative to traditional healthcare for the remaining 45% in this industry and the dependents of all.
Since the average hourly pay in retail is $15.356, it is likely that retail workers forego doctor visits, routine screenings, and prescriptions due to associated costs. Another barrier to consider is time and availability as retail hours do not fall within the traditional business hours of 9-5. For a low monthly fee, these workers can enroll in a DPC program for them and their dependents that offers unlimited primary care visits, urgent care visits, and 24/7 virtual care, giving them peace of mind that they have access to a board-certified physician whenever they need one.
Freelance Workforce Continues to Grow
Most people believe that freelance work is sporadic and short-term, however, a report by ADP has found that more than half of 1099 contractors work for the same company for 12 consecutive months7. Even though freelancers are spending longer periods of time with the same company, 1099 workers don’t qualify for most employer health plans.
The report predicts that the freelance workforce will continue to grow. 70% of respondents have said that they are freelancing by choice, and 60% will continue to do so for the next 3 years8. With more companies hiring freelancers in a variety of industries, additional benefits will be crucial to attracting quality 1099 workers. The great benefit for freelancers is that DPC is not only affordable but flexible and portable. Due to its non-insurance membership structure, DPC can be added at any time of the year. Additionally, frequent travelers or those who work odd hours can access a board-certified physician in all 50 states or 24/7 virtual care. By offering DPC, companies can better attract and maintain good working relationships with freelancers, all at a low cost.
An Affordable Alternative
Healthcare2U’s hybrid direct primary care was created to address the issue of inaccessibility to quality primary care, provided by board-certified family care physicians and internists. For a low monthly fee, we offer unlimited in-office, virtual, and urgent care visits. This model encourages members to see a physician regularly, build a relationship with their primary care provider, and potentially detect underlying issues before the onset of a serious illness. Additionally, DPC seamlessly integrates with existing benefit plans already in place, enhancing the employees’ current coverage and providing an alternative for 1099 and part-time employees.
For more information about how DPC can provide quality care for employer groups, contact Healthcare2U.
1, 5 KFF Employer Health Benefits 2021 Survey (https://files.kff.org/attachment/Report-Employer-Health-Benefits-2021-Annual-Survey.pdf)
2 US Department of Health and Human Services Rural Action Plan (https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/hhs-rural-action-plan.pdf)
3 High-Touch Care Leads to Better Outcomes and Lower Costs in a Senior Population (https://www.ajmc.com/view/hightouch-care-leads-to-better-outcomes-and-lower-costs-in-a-senior-population?p=1)
4 Investing in Primary Care: A State-Level Analysis (https://www.pcpcc.org/resource/investing-primary-care-state-level-analysis)
6 Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes412031.htm)
7, 8 ADPRI Illuminating the Shadow Workforce (https://www.adpri.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/19212611/Illuminating-the-Shadow-Workforce-Full-Report.pdf)