Primary care has a multitude of benefits, at both the member and population level. Research shows that when people seek routine care from their primary care provider, they are healthier. When there are more primary care providers per capita, life span lengthens, and death rates from illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke, drop.
However, in a report from National Public Radio, a recent study revealed that adults with commercial health insurance are seeing their primary care providers less often than in the previous decade.
Why the drop in primary care visits?
Primary care visits have declined across all demographics, according to the study. Evidence points to rising out-of-pocket costs as a factor (from about $30 to $40 per visit in the 10 years the study covered). Primary care visits subject to a deductible also increased, from less than 10% in 2008 to more than 25% in 2016.
The bottom line? Rising costs are resulting in members waiting until it’s urgent before they seek care. And by then, health conditions may have reached critical stages that require higher cost specialists, urgent care, or emergency room visits.
Something needs to change.
Invest in something better with an integrated primary care model
The best way to increase primary care utilization is for payers to integrate it into their health plans. Vera’s solution to this challenge is called advanced primary care (APC). With APC, 80-90% of care happens at the primary care level, removing the need for most specialist visits. Additionally, APC improves health outcomes and creates a better member experience. Better access, reduced total cost of care, and a better member experience with the Vera APC model creates a competitive advantage for payers looking to add APC.
Integrated primary care is proven to build stronger relationships, increase member engagement, control costs, improve health outcomes, and create the member experience payers want.