Health insurance policies first emerged in the industrial era of the 1880s, powered by the rise of unions that sought compensation for the illnesses and injuries of steel factory workers. They were designed to mitigate the economic hardship caused by unforeseen accidents.
Since those humble beginnings, health care has morphed into a huge industry, fueled by insurance companies and pharmaceutical conglomerates and mandated by the federal government. Because insurance premiums are withheld from paychecks – or paid for by government entities such as Medicare and Medicaid – rather than passing through our hands, we are unaware of the high price we are actually paying. In other words, health care consumers and health care payers are different entities.
One result of these vast changes in the insurance industry in the past century or so is that increasing government regulations and decreasing reimbursements are forcing doctors to become employees of hospitals. Meanwhile, insurance companies and hospitals seem to be more concerned about their financial security than about patients. According to Dr. Tim Wingo of Atlas Healthcare, more than half the bankruptcies in this country are caused by medical costs.
Certain that there is a better way, Dr. Wingo opened Atlas Healthcare to give people an alternative: better health care at an affordable price. He takes a holistic approach that concentrates on maintaining wellness and preventing disease.
“I advocate for quality routine primary care,” he said. “I see just a few patients per day, so I can spend more time with them.”
As an affordable concierge practice, Atlas Healthcare does not contract with insurance companies, which helps keep overhead low. In addition to extended appointments at his office, Dr. Wingo is available by phone. Everything about his practice is streamlined except for patient relationships.
Dr. Wingo is passionate about the need for ample time with patients.
“Without time, there can be no meaningful communication or education,” he explained.
Dr. Wingo’s view of insurance is not unlike that in the automobile industry. Consumers pay the doctor directly for routine primary care, just as they would pay for oil changes for their car, which encourages them to be more involved in decision-making and spend less money on unnecessary tests and appointments. He suggested that most people can improve their well-being and reduce medical expenses dramatically by choosing a concierge practice combined with a high-deductible insurance plan and a health savings account.
According to Dr. Wingo, “The premium savings alone from a high-deductible plan will fund the HSA. In fact, the cost to see me for a year would be a fraction of the tax savings from the HSA contribution.”
Is Atlas Healthcare the right choice for you and your family? Dr. Wingo welcomes your questions and will gladly explain the math to you during a free consultation. But, even more than your potential savings, you’ll appreciate the quality of care you’ll receive.
Atlas Healthcare is charting a new direction in health care. To find out more, visit www.AtlasHealthcarePA.com or call (843) 352-9353 for an appointment.
By Barbara Millen Patrick