What is direct-pay dermatology?
Direct-pay is a model for medical care that creates a direct relationship between the doctor and the patient. The reason why this model is growing in popularity is that patients and doctors are tired of the barriers and surprises that come from third-party payers. Third-party barriers include limitations on who you can see for your care or whether you have to see your primary care doctor before seeing a specialist. Surprises are usually financial: months later, you receive an unexpected bill for a service that you received.
In the direct-pay model, you decide which physician that you see and when you see her. The physician sets her own pricing. There are no surprise bills, as you will be informed about the cost of the visit and any procedures in advance.
Patients who have commercial insurance can use direct-pay services. They will be responsible for the cost, and, if they have out-of-network benefits, their insurance company may reimburse them for some or all of the costs. Patients with high-deductible plans can use their HSA to pay for their direct-pay visits.
But, I have commercial insurance, shouldn’t I use it?
Many of Dr. Chiang’s patients have insurance, but they come to her for the reasons above: her expertise, her bedside manner, and the convenience. Patients with insurance are responsible for the cost, and, depending on their out-of-network benefits, they can put in a request for their insurance company to reimburse them for some or all of the costs. Patients with high-deductible plans can use their HSA to pay for their direct-pay visits.
A third important benefit is convenience. Appointments are available the same week and often the same day. If you have an emergent or urgent matter, Dr. Chiang will be able to see you.
Without the demands of third-party payers, Dr. Chiang spends her time directed at taking good care of you.
Direct pay dermatology and Government-issued insurance
Dr. Chiang can see Medicare patients, but they must understand that neither government insurance or secondary insurance will reimburse for her services. It is difficult for Dr. Chiang to see Medicaid patients because Medicaid will not pay for any medications that she prescribes.
How much is a new-patient visit?
A typical new patient visit ranges from $175 to $250. If any procedures are performed, the office always informs the patient about additional costs and obtains the consent of the patient before proceeding.