As administrative burdens and costs associated with the practice of medicine continue to grow, many physicians are wondering out loud whether now is the time to make the leap to cash-only concierge medicine. In its purest form, concierge medicine is a model where patients pay a recurring cash fee (e.g., monthly or annual) for expedited/enhanced access to medical and wellness care. There are many possible variations on this concept ranging from a cash fee-for-service model to a hybrid model where the physician accepts cash for some services (non-covered) and bills insurance for others.
While the concept may sound incredibly tempting, physicians are advised to proceed with caution. To be sure, there are a host of legal considerations – most of which have to do with Medicare and commercial insurance contractual issues. These are particularly tricky in a hybrid model where the distinction between covered and non-covered services is critical.