Frequently Asked Questions
What is Direct Primary Care?
Direct Primary Care is a new model of healthcare delivery that focuses on putting the patient first and restoring the patient-doctor relationship. That means continued care with the same doctor, visits when you need them, long leisurely appointments, and being proactive in creating treatment plans.
For a low, flat monthly fee, you get unlimited office visits with no copays; direct access to your doctor by cell phone, text, email, or video chat; same-day or next-day appointments; visits of 30-60 minutes; and access to discounts on lab tests, pathology, and imaging, all without the need for insurance. We remove the obstacle of health insurance and deliver affordable and personal care, unparalleled by any other model.
Is Direct Primary Care the same as Concierge Medicine?
No, there are some similarities such as longer visits and access to your physician, but Direct Primary Care is much more affordable. Concierge practices bill much higher monthly fees and may also bill your insurance. We can offer similar service at a much lower price.
What sets Cara Direct Care apart from other practices?
At Cara Direct Care, we remove barriers to care that are created by government regulations and insurance company rules. This allows us to spend time where it counts: with our patients. More face to face time = better health for you. We promise to deliver excellent accessibility, convenience and affordability.
Does Cara Direct Care accept insurance?
No. Think about it – do you use your car insurance when you need an oil change or to fill your car with gas? Why use health insurance for a service that can be provided by your doctor for a lower price? We forgo insurance payments in order to save our patients from the arbitrary, intrusive decisions made by insurers. Furthermore, the direct nature of our model frees us from the typical contractual agreements that prevent physicians in traditional practice from offering wholesale prices on lab tests and imaging.
Do I still need insurance?
Yes. There are certain types of care that we cannot provide for you, such as surgery and hospital stays, and you would still need insurance to cover those emergency situations. We suggest you opt for a lower-cost, higher-deductible plan that would still offer you coverage, but would lower your monthly premium. We also suggest pairing this with a Health Savings Account to save for those catastrophic events, which should be few and far between. With Direct Primary Care, you would not need to worry about meeting a deductible since you will not need it for any of the care we provide for you. This could ultimately save you hundreds or thousands per year on healthcare costs.
What happens if I need to go to the hospital or see a specialist?
Direct Primary Care has been shown in studies to reduce hospitalizations. In instances where those types of care are required, we will continue to work with your hospitalist during your hospital stay, as well as work closely with any specialist. In some cases, depending on the level of care and the variety of expertise required, we may rely on those specialized caregivers to manage your treatment. We also hope to contract with local specialists to provide a cash pay fee schedule for services not covered in your monthly membership with us such as colonoscopy, minor surgeries etc. Please check back with the website for updates.
Can I still use my insurance to pay for medications, specialist visits, diagnostic studies etc?
Yes. As mentioned, we encourage all of our patients to have insurance in addition to their DPC membership to help cover the costs of emergency room visits, surgeries, and hospitalizations. Your insurance may also help cover the costs of some medications and diagnostic studies, although we will work with you to find the most affordable option for any treatment that we recommend.
If I have Medicare, can I still join Cara Direct Care?
Yes. You need only to sign a one-time waiver declaring that neither you nor your doctor will directly bill Medicare for our services. Medicare will still cover most laboratory testing, imaging, medications or hospitalizations ordered by our office.
Will I benefit from Cara Direct Care if I don't require frequent medical attention?
Yes! Unfortunately, most medical care has become very reactionary, a response to symptoms or being sick. While we always provide sick care for our patients, we place utmost importance on being proactive and creating plans for staying healthy. Certainly, everyone benefits from healthcare tailored to them. The current healthcare model encourages you NOT to seek care until you are really sick, but at Cara Direct Care you can seek care at any time, preferably sooner rather than later. We can actually prevent things from happening instead of waiting for them to happen and then treating them. You can simply call us, ask a quick question via text, or schedule an urgent visit. Over time, we will have comprehensive knowledge about you and your individual health, and if you do end up needing more frequent medical attention, we will know all about your needs and how to treat you best. This cannot be said for any other healthcare model, and this is why Direct Primary Care is the model for now and the future.
How can I contact my provider?
You can contact your provider via phone, text, e-mail, Skype/Facetime, or in person at the office. We do request that after-hours phone calls/texts be limited to urgent questions or concerns, but we are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for your convenience.
Media links about Direct Primary Care: