Starting October 1, 2013, I will be offering a lifetime of primary health care for a one-time payment of $5000.
As I was bootstrapping open my family medicine practice last year, I read about a creative brewery in Minneapolis who raised start-up capital by selling a lifetime of free beer for a $1000 “membership” at their bar. The Kansas-Minnesota trek prevented me from investing in this brilliant offer, but as a budding entrepreneur, I was inspired.
After resigning to not wait for “the system” to provide my patients better or more affordable care, I started a Direct Primary Care practice fresh out of residency. We now provide our friends and neighbors comprehensive primary care for a simple, fixed membership fee of $30 or $40 per month per person -- including most routine labs, many procedures, flu shots and more -- and without co-pays, 2 hour wait times, worries about deductibles or the need for insurance middlemen.
Our clinic has grown steadily since starting in December 2011. We are now expanding our services to better care for our existing and future members. Being averse to more debt, the strings of venture capital and the anonymity of Kickstarter, I decided to take a cue from a cool brewery.
We are now offering 20 “Lifetime Memberships” in our practice. This local, crowdfunding effort will help pay for a wholesale medication program, diagnostic equipment (e.g. ultrasound machine) and a few other projects -- allowing us to provide even more value to our members with free or at-cost services.
As a lover of beer, I understand a lifetime of primary care is not as enticing or refreshing as an ever-flowing pale ale spigot. But, considering $5000 would only fund the average person's "middle of the road" health insurance premium for the next 15 months (with access to pay $40 co-pays and for $12 band-aids), it's a bargain. I am hopeful we can find a few folks to support us and our mission.