Physicians Abandon Insurance for 'Blue Collar' Concierge Model

Compliments of US News & World Report

No insurance? No problem.

A small but growing number of primary-care physicians has stopped taking insurance — and they may be radically reshaping how American families get their medicine.

“We’re running a business that’s profitable and caring for patients the way we’ve been trained to care for patients,” says Dr. Jonathon Izbiciki, owner of Izbicki Family Medicine in Erie, Pa. “We have our voices back, and we’re masters of our profession. There’s nothing better than that.”

For years, the no-insurance — or “retainer” or “direct-care” — approach was almost exclusively reserved for the wealthy. Specialists or physicians who catered to deep-pocketed patients would charge a lofty monthly “membership” fee, and in exchange, offer “luxury” amenities like same-day appointments, little to no wait times, more time with the doctor and consultations by phone, email, Skype or even text-message.

But with industry changes looming and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act bringing an influx of newly insured low-income and Medicare patients, some primary-care and family-practice physicians have set out to change this so-called “concierge” model: in short, by offering the very same services at a mere fraction of the cost.

“We’re like the blue-collar concierge,” Izbicki says.

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