All about Discount Health Care Programs

Discount Health Care  Programs (DHCP) are cash-based (not insurance) programs. They address traditional, complementary and ancillary healthcare products and services. Depending upon location-specific availability, the many represented services may include: dental care, pharmacy benefits, vision care, chiropractic, physician telemedicine, bill negotiation services, healthcare/surgical service navigator (options identification), hearing services (audiology), physical therapy, occupational therapy, orthotics & prosthetics, laboratory services, radiology services, and wellness screenings. A few markets have primary care clinicians available (M.D., D.O., N.P.) delivering traditional services during normal business hours, but not many.

Comprehensive membership-type, fee-for-service, traditional, primary care physician and specialty service providers are very rare. One DHCP found a way to merge many of their services into cost-effective benefits programs. Members participating in the DHCP receive discount cards with which to acquire services at markedly discounted prices. The products and services delivered through cash-based programs are the same high-quality products available via insurance. As such, insured consumers also experience marked savings by using the DHCP membership to fill insurance coverage gaps with discounted fee services.

Again, Discount Health Care Programs are not insurance, nor are they intended to fully replace medical insurance. Medical insurance, whether private and governmental, covers a broad range of products and services not addressed by DHCP. However, for most people (without the resources of the most wealthy, nor with covered access to para/military health care) a DHCP very effectively fills in gaps, including a superbly competitive alternative to dental insurance and uncovered ancillary services. The best DHCP also teams the highest quality resources to deliver “occasional use medical services” alternative to those “in insurance plan” providers whose cumulative fees often fail to reach insurance deductible limits. So, they actually become “out-of-pocket/fee-for-service” expenses that could have been discounted, even for the insured.

Some apply the strategy of maintaining the least expensive (albeit quality) medical insurance available, with high deductibles, primarily for coverage of catastrophic incidents. For such persons, a single, annual comprehensive physical examination and an update of chronic condition-related medications (prescriptions) are usually covered by the insurance program without extra fees. Thereafter, simple primary issues (acute or chronic care follow-up) can often be managed by telephone via a low-cost, telemedicine service, including telephonic prescription management. However, the majority of medical insurance programs do not offer telemedicine services. Medical insurance carriers also do not cover dental insurance, often do not provide bill negotiation services (to lower the patient’s portion of major medical bills) and cover little in the way of CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicine) services.

ISG Health knows your good health matters!