Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Affordable Healthcare in Rhode Island

A group of Rhode Island doctors have decided to combat the rising costs of primary healthcare with their HealthAccessRI plan. HealthAccessRI is a monthly subscription service to a primary care physician for “‘less than the cost of a cell phone, less than the cost of cable TV, less than the cost of high-speed Internet,’” according to founding doctor Michael Fine. Fine and a group of likeminded doctors have setup a system that allows for affordable doctor visits without insurance or government involvement.

HealthAccessRI solely covers access to primary care physicians and does not cover other things such as hospital stays, x-rays, or other more serious procedures. Arguing that these are the things that should be covered by the insurance companies Dr. James M. Schwartz contends:

Today’s health-care financing perverts the original concept of insurance, which was supposed to pay for catastrophes, he says. “No auto insurance sells you a plan that covers oil changes and tune-ups,” he says. The current system has also harmed primary care, Schwartz argues, by paying doctors per visit, making it financially difficult to give patients the attention they need. HealthAccessRI gives doctors a steady, predictable income to cover predictable costs.

I think that HealthAccessRI is an interesting experiment that requires further investigation. I would love to have the option to pay for such a service while holding a significantly cheaper health insurance policy which would be reserved primarily for catastrophes and things other than primary care.
You can read the full article here.
Also posted on Ethereal Madness.
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