Concierge medicine is defined as “a relationship between a patient and a primary care physician in which the patient pays an annual fee or retainer”. Basically, you pay a monthly and/or annual fee to have unprecedented access to a doctor for enhanced care and services as defined under their concierge agreement.
With concierge medicine you could receive 24/7 access to a doctor, same day appointments, longer appointment times and a greater degree of personalized attention. The doctor may still bill your insurance (or you could be responsible for this), but you will not pay any additional funds for services covered at 100% under your agreement.
The lowest cost we found for this service via an internet search was $39/month, but average concierge fees can range anywhere from $1,500 to $15,000 per year. It appears you can go with either the Volkswagen Bug or the Bentley! It depends what you’re looking for in your concierge care and how much you’re willing to spend.
When it comes to covering the annual fee for this service, one of the first places people consider paying from is their HSA. However, HSA funds can only be used for qualified expenses that have already happened. They cannot be used in anticipation of future expenses. For this reason, a concierge fee cannot be paid from an HSA.
But hold on…..there is still a silver lining! You can reimburse yourself for HSA-qualified medical expenses received under your concierge membership during the year. Confused? No problem, it’s a little complicated. Here’s a scenario to help make things a little more clear:
- Let’s say you paid $2,500 for your concierge membership.
- During that year, you used your membership for $1,000 in medical services that were HSA-qualified and were not reimbursed by insurance.
- If your physician provides an invoice showing the actual cost of qualified medical expenses received under your concierge agreement, you can reimburse yourself for that $1,000 from your HSA.
- You cannot, however, reimburse yourself from your HSA for concierge services that are in excess of your annual concierge fee.
Qualified medical expenses that are not part of your concierge services can be reimbursed from the HSA if they have not been reimbursed by insurance.
Just a friendly reminder….documentation is everything! If you reimburse yourself for concierge services received, be sure to keep detailed records in case of an IRS audit of your HSA.
What isn't complicated to understand, is that concierge medicine certainly seems to have a growing appeal. 2012 saw a 25% increase from the previous year in private physicians providing this service!
Concierge medicine is just one more option to consider when you sit down and budget your healthcare dollars. Some will find it to be a perfect fit in their overall healthcare planning, while others may not see a benefit for their unique situation. In consumer-driven healthcare, having options is healthy….and after all, isn’t “healthy” where we all want to be?
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