Senate Republican Office
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUSTA – Since 2013, a new model of primary care has taken hold in Maine, called direct primary care, with around 10 providers now practicing in various locations around central and southern Maine. Senator Rodney Whittemore (R-Somerset) has proposed LD 1385, “An Act Governing Direct Primary Care Membership Agreements,” to ensure these practices can continue to grow and flourish in Maine.
Direct primary care providers follow a different model of health care, eliminating all third-party influence from the patient-physician relationship by removing insurance companies from the healthcare equation altogether. Instead, patients enter into a contract with the physician, often paying a flat monthly fee for services in exchange for unlimited access to their primary care physician. This model allows patients increased access to their primary care physician and allows physicians greater control over their practice.
LD 1385, if passed, would clarify the law by:
- Ensuring that patients are free to seek care outside of an insurance plan and pay for such care
- Ensuring that physicians and other medical professionals are free to accept payment for services and medical products outside of an insurance plan
- Most importantly, stipulating that direct primary care membership agreements are not insurance and are not subject to regulation by the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, Bureau of Insurance
“The direct primary care model provides more options for consumers seeking affordable, high quality primary care and increases access for patients,” said Sen. Whittemore. “This model of care provides patients with low, predictable medical costs and facilitates an alternative patient-doctor dynamic, free of outside influence by health insurance companies.
“It has been incredibly popular among practicing direct primary care physicians, as it greatly reduces overhead and administrative costs while offering more freedom to control the number of patients they see, the amount of time they spend with each patient and to select the treatments they deem to be most appropriate.
“Although direct primary care is relatively new, we are seeing practices pop up all around the state, providing physicians and patients with more choice. It’s time the Legislature takes action to clarify the law to ensure these practices are able to continue to succeed in Maine.”