A fifth of wealthy Americans pay extra for direct physician access, study finds

A new poll found more than a fifth of wealthy people pay an extra fee to directly access their primary care physician.

The poll, from NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, includes results from about 2,000 respondents. Compared to wealthy respondents, low- and middle-income people were much less likely to pay extra for direct access to their physician.

The fee often includes concierge medicine services, like a longer annual exam, no waiting room time, same-day appointments and direct access to a physician's cellphone. Some models center more on luxury services, while other direct primary care practices don't offer those same services.

These models bypass insurers, with the extra monthly fee covering the cost of care. On average, NPR said patients pay an additional fee of $93 a month for increased access to their physician.

Read the full report here.

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