Demystifying Medicine

The Elephant in the Room: Why I’m Not Taking Insurance

November 18, 2021

Sonia Singh MD
I'm a primary care doctor who is passionate about food, writing and making healthcare less frustrating and more empowering. These are my musings. Thanks for reading!

Let’s discuss the elephant in room.

The first question every patient asks when they hear I’m going solo is “Will you be accepting my insurance?”

I get it. You pay $$$ every month for health insurance, and you want to use it. I hear you.

In fact, as someone who trained in a highly academic environment, I NEVER would have imagined joining or starting a cash-based practice. It seemed like something quacks did in order to sell patients questionable tests/supplements. It wasn’t something a legitimate, evidence-based, altruistic doctor would do.

I was wrong.

Health insurance does NOT = health CARE.

To be clear, there are SOME cash-based practices that take advantage of patients (several I know of in Houston, in fact). However, there is also a movement in medicine driven by some of the best & brightest PCPs towards cutting out all the middlemen and working directly FOR our patients.

This is called direct primary care (DPC) and it has been shown to decrease ER visits, hospitalizations & out-of-pocket costs. I sincerely believe it is the best model for any patient interested in investing in their long-term health & any doctor willing to walk away from a dysfunctional system and truly invest in their patients.

Insurance driven care is built to be reactionary (i.e. you can’t see the nutritionist until you HAVE diabetes) & restrictive (I.e. wait 3 days to get a CT approved or pay $$$ in ER). The machinery required to get reimbursement/approval leads to tremendous waste –> docs having to churn through patients in order to stay afloat.

Here’s the secret: good primary care is actually cheap.

By eliminating coders, billers, administrators and all the other red tape that comes with insurance contracts, doctors can run lean, efficient micropractices that provide concierge-level, personalized, proactive care for a flat, affordable monthly fee with NO copays or surprise bills.

Check out this short video that explains DPC in more detail: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XAZlJiTnVuw&t=167s

be well,
Sonia Singh MD

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