We all survived 2017, some better than others. I for one am ready for a do over. Thankfully some big changes are coming from Uncle Sam to help all of us in the health care arena.
Like him or not, President Trump and his team have made serious strides to reduce regulations and open up more options for health care insurance. In the newly passed tax legislation, the health insurance mandate for individuals has supposedly been removed. If this moves forward as written, it will eliminate the tax penalty on self-employed and those working in small companies not offering health insurance. That’s money back in American’s pockets, which could be used for health care like direct primary care agreements. The average penalty in 2017 was $708 which would pay for a years worth of direct care.
Money well spent.
Also, soon small business (those with less than 50 employees) can offer new small employer health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) that let employers give money to employees to use for health related purchases including buying their on health insurance plans.
This is big step forward to help the “little guys” out there. There are still some issues to work out like can the HRAs be used to pay for direct primary care plans? If they are cleared for direct care use, that would be a win for direct care physicians, employers and patients.
In another positive move through executive order, President Trump has loosened restrictions on small groups and trade associations banding together to buy health insurance as a group. This change would allow groups of companies and organizations to join forces to pool employees to purchase health plans which would drive the cost of plans down. These associations would work well with direct care clinics to provide valuable primary care and lower costs.
Finally, 2018 will see the launch of a national direct primary care origination focused on education, leadership, advocacy, and vision for direct primary care physicians across the world.
The DPC Alliance will begin adding members this year and I am proud to represent Direct Access MD and South Carolina as a founding member of the group. We plan for this to be a place were physicians, patients and employers connect to totally rebuild how we provide health care.
All signs are pointing towards a great year for patients, physicians and employers—more options, more freedom, more access to care. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
That’s What Doc Says…