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How do direct care and on-site care lower employer spending on healthcare?

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An employer that offers healthcare benefits to its employees has a lot of options. Although typically healthcare coverage provided by an employer is focused on traditional insurance plans, alternatives such as funding access to a direct care practice (DPC) or an on-site clinic may prove more beneficial for both employer and its employees.

DPCs operate on membership fees. DPC physicians are able to keep their costs lower, because of their reduced overhead expenses, and give more personal attention to each of their patients, as their patient panel is significantly lower than a traditional primary care physician’s would be. Those lower costs translate into lower employer spending, when the DPC is offered as an employee benefit.

The basic membership fee covers a range of DPC services, depending on the specific practice. Often the patient is able to access primary care services that include clinical, laboratory, consultative services, care coordination, and comprehensive care management. There are no co-pays, visit fees, or insurance reimbursements involved, which simplifies the process and saves everyone money.

On-site clinics operate on a similar principle in that they offer basic services at a cost savings to the employer and the employee. Various studies have shown that when employees have access to – and take advantage of – an on-site clinic, the employer’s healthcare spending is significantly reduced. Those costs savings may be in the form of decreased absenteeism and increased productivity, in addition to the premiums paid to the on-site clinic for employee care.

One such study of on-site clinics, published in the The American Journal of Managed Care in 2015, cited the fact that “Regular access to primary care can help curb healthcare costs through increased use of clinical preventive services, reduced hospitalizations, appropriate follow-up of chronic conditions, and greater continuity of care.”