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I Don’t Want Health Insurance. I Want a Doctor on Retainer.

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By Peter Hajinian, Creative

If I hear “eat a salad” from my health insurance company one more time I’m going to mail them all the lettuce that’s rotting in my fridge. But if my doctor says it, I’m going to go out and buy some fresh veggies to chop up and toss in there.

My doctor knows my medical history, he knows my resting heart rate, he’s seen me naked. But you know what? If he tells me I need to cut back on cheeseburgers and try to hit the gym 12 times a month, I’m going to try and make that happen. And, hey, if I get $20 off my gym membership while I’m at it, then I’m just going to like my doctor even more.

Sure, my insurance company is providing a necessity. But the truth is it’s really easy to see them as a necessary evil. I can’t really shop around. I can’t really choose something different. I can’t even tell you exactly what a co-insurance is after having one for five years. But every time I go to my doctor, I’m totally happy he’s getting my insurance money. It’s the best relationship I have with the healthcare system.

So here’s a crazy idea: what if we could buy health insurance through our doctor?

Think about it.

It’s basically having a doctor on retainer.

“Just in case” is something we all think about when it comes to insurance. “Just in case” we get hurt and we’re on vacation. “Just in case” we catch a horrible flu, or worse. “Just in case” we don’t land that triple lindy. In any of these cases, we want to know our doctor is going to be there to take care of us, or at least talking to whoever’s getting us back on our feet. Are we willing to pay a monthly fee for that? I am.

We’d take preventive suggestions.

Why should our insurance company keep sending us postcards about getting flu shots and eating healthier? Insurance is already a necessary evil, and now it’s giving us a bunch of things we need to try and pack into our already busy life? Of course we should do all those things, but how often do we follow through with their suggestions? But we listen when our doctor suggests something, because we know he’s thinking about us as a human being and not just a name and number on an insurance card.

It helps us understand the value of what we’re paying for.

We know our doctor dedicated a lot of time, money and energy to become the health expert he or she is, so we’re more likely to be happy to pay for their expertise than to fork over all that money to an administrator at an insurance company. After all, we trust our doctors because we chose them.

Insurance as an employer benefit is archaic.

Health insurance is an expensive, abstract product that most employers use as a benefit to attract employees. That’s how the system is setup right now, but wouldn’t it be better if we knew we could keep our doctor because they’re the ones selling me the insurance? It’d be our choice, Then employers could attract employees with benefits like longer vacations and free soda water.

Plus, insurance companies could do this RIGHT NOW.

Our health insurance already knows who our doctor is—they pay those bills. They could easily start sending us reminders and information on enrollment options through our doctor’s office instead of their faceless corporate headquarters. Doing that might be enough to shift our perception about health insurance, and with insurance companies buying care networks, it could become even easier.

All of this reminds me that it’s time to pick up some vegetables to put in my salad tonight. I’ve got my yearly checkup coming up in a few weeks, and I want to pay for some good news.