Clinics Test Prepaid Health Plans

Flat-rate programs aim to take up slack for uninsured, underinsured
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Oct 22, 2007 2:50 PM CDT
Proponents of the experimental system say it cuts down on administrative hassles and costs, compels more office visits and is more profitable than traditional insurance.   (
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(Newser) – Primary care is increasingly out of reach for patients and unprofitable for physicians, but a prepaid plan at a walk-in clinic could provide a solution, one doctor says. Vic Wood charges a monthly fee for basic and urgent care, allowing his practice to stay afloat and his uninsured patients to get medical treatment. But it's not all good news, the Journal reports.

At $83 a month per patient, or $125 per family, the rate is relatively cheap, but it doesn't offer a level of care comparable to comprehensive insurance plans'. The scheme works when patients need bloodwork, but not when they need cancer treatment. Still, the new approach to health care increases doctor-patient face time by cutting red tape for physicians and cost barriers for patients.