If there is any known truth about American healthcare, it is that it is expensive. Health spending, on average, runs about $4,000 more per person than our peers in other high-income countries.
Over the years, innovators have worked to devise care models and approaches that seek to lower the cost of healthcare for Americans. Thankfully, some more recent approaches have succeeded in putting money back into the pockets of Americans at a time when many of them need it the most.
Annual healthcare costs are expected to rise to roughly $14,944 per person by 2023. Costs are rising on everything from groceries to housing, and 9.6% of Americans already cannot afford health insurance. As more Americans continue to feel the pinch of inflation, that number is likely to continue climbing.
The massive increase in costs we may see coming down the road makes innovation by forward-thinkers even more important. Dr. Kishlay Anand, a cardiologist and health technology business founder, is one such forward-thinker who is merging the technologies of telehealth, Direct Primary Care (DPC), and virtual pharmacies.
Direct Primary Care Saves Money
Decades ago, house calls and up-front costs for healthcare visits were not out of the ordinary. The local doctor would have his fees, and health insurance didn’t play such a significant role in care delivery. Many would like to see our healthcare model in the United States return to some semblance of the transparency and familiarity of the past, which is where DPC comes into play.
DPC is one approach being implemented in an attempt to save money by providing clear, upfront costs to patients. This, in turn, opens the door to forming a more direct relationship between doctors and their patients allowing patients to work around the complicated web of deductibles, health insurance networks, premiums, and copays. Transparent costs and accessibility to a preferred primary care physician are just two of the reasons people have been gravitating towards the DPC model.
Saving on Prescriptions
Dr. Anand is just one of the innovators who have consistently brought industry-disruptive ideas to the table. In addition to providing state-of-the-art cardiological care to his patients, he heads several companies that are major players in the health tech space. One of Dr. Anand’s companies, LitonRX, offers a digital answer to the modern pharmacy. Offered as an alternative to prescription insurance coverage, LitonRX shows how the DPC model of healthcare can be expanded to fit the pharmacy industry.
LitonRX offers 24/7 virtual care and free delivery of prescriptions with unlimited visits, free medications, and no copays — all for one transparent cost provided upfront.
Using a virtual pharmacy option such as LitonRX allows patients to not only save money on copays and costs associated with insurance, but also on travel to brick-and-mortar pharmacy locations and doctor visits for ailments that can be easily diagnosed and given prescribed treatment virtually. This virtual pharmacy model builds on the increasing popularity of telehealth since the start of the pandemic.
“I believe we all saw the benefits and the necessity of telehealth when the pandemic hit. Suddenly, more people than ever needed the care and accessibility that telehealth provides” Dr. Anand explains.
While nearly every major insurance carrier offers prescription drug coverage to some extent, those plans typically have stringent restrictions on what they will cover. The prescriptions that are allowed under those various plans can still be expensive, and they don’t offer the kind of concierge physician assistance that a program such as LitonRX does.
Consumers need to know that saving money on healthcare in the US is not a lost cause. The more tech and health join forces, the more options there are to save.
Finding ways to circumvent the high cost of insurance is just one way tech leaders like Dr. Anand are saving patients money. With insurance costs running nearly as much as a monthly mortgage for some families, finding ways to save could be integral to riding our current inflation wave.
Dr. Anand also sees the reward in taking a patient-centered approach to care and cost. “It’s rewarding to see how 24/7, proactive healthcare solutions that enable patients to choose when and how they receive care can make such a difference.”
Healthcare in the United States — particularly its affordability — will likely continue to be a hot topic of conversation in the coming months, as will inflation. Healthcare costs have historically shown to rise at a rate over two times that of inflation. Instituting DPC and leveraging the cost-savings provided by technology such as virtual pharmacies can help alleviate the pressing weight of mounting healthcare costs in the US. With further innovative ideas like those from Dr. Anand, change will continue to come to the healthcare industry, with delivery and cost.