Patients paying yearly membership fee for elite healthcare - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Patients paying yearly membership fee for elite healthcare

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Concierge medicine is becoming more popular in North Alabama. Concierge medicine is becoming more popular in North Alabama.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

It's not a new idea, but it's becoming more popular in North Alabama – concierge medicine. It could be considered a luxury service.

Patients pay an annual fee for benefits like not sitting in a waiting room or unlimited access.

The annual cost usually works out to about $5 a day or nearly $2,000 a year. Having insurance is not required, but still recommended for emergencies or higher cost procedures like surgery.

Proponents of concierge medicine say it's a great option for people with a busy lifestyle or for those who have bigger medical needs. Fans of the practice also believe it allows for a better, more personal relationship with your doctor.

Those who are not fans of the practice say it's a waste of money for the patient.

Patient William Roof is not a supporter of concierge medicine. His doctor of 20 years decided to switch to a concierge style practice, so he decided to switch doctors.

"It's like paying for the privilege of seeing your doctor," said Roof. "That just goes against everything I believe. I don't shop at Costco, I don't belong to Sam's Club. I don't believe in paying for the privilege of doing business with someone."

According to the American Academy of Private Physicians, Alabama has about 35 of these doctors. Many of those practice in Huntsville.

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