Subscribe to your doctor? A new model for medical care is catching doctors’ attention

October 8, 2019 | Michigan Radio

In today’s world, where healthcare costs are soaring and patients struggle to access affordable and quality care, a new model of medical care is emerging as a promising alternative to the traditional fee-for-service model. This model, called “direct primary care,” is gaining popularity among patients and doctors alike. The direct primary care model allows patients to subscribe to a doctor for a monthly or yearly fee and receive unlimited access to primary care services, without worrying about insurance reimbursements for each appointment.  In this article, Udow-Phillips explore the challenges of implementing this model.  

Marianne Udow-Phillips on doctors noticing a new model of medical care“How do we better support primary care so we have viable numbers of primary care physicians for the future?”


Marianne Udow-Phillips


“Before insurance companies, and co-pays, and filing claims, the relationship between doctors and patients was simple,” notes Michigan Radio. “Those who needed medical care would visit their doctor’s office or request a house call. Once that care was provided, the doctor was paid directly. Some physicians are bringing that model into the 21st century by offering direct primary care to their patients on a subscription basis.”

On Michigan Radio’s Stateside with Cynthia Canty, “Marianne Udow-Phillips, director of the Center for Health and Research Transformation at the University of Michigan, notes that this model isn’t affordable for everyone, particularly because direct primary care doesn’t replace insurance….”

“The patient will usually still have to buy insurance because this only covers a limited set of primary care services,” Udow-Phillips said. “So, if you need surgery or you need most medications, you would still need to either pay for that out of pocket or pay for insurance.”