Some patients prefer to bypass insurance provider with cash-only doctors

PLATTE CITY, Mo. - What if you paid for all your medical bills out-of-pocket? It is a new cash-only trend known as "direct pay." Doctors promise to keep prices low by avoiding the insurance companies.    

With four kids and high medical insurance deductibles, Maggie and Jared Sweedens worry about their medical expenses. A simple cold can lead to a lot of money out of their wallets.

"When one child gets sick, they're bound to all get sick.  With high co-pays and high deductibles, it's tough," Maggie said.    

The family recently started going to a direct pay doctor.

Dr. Ann Riggs just opened her practice in Platte City in October. Direct Medical Care is a cash only practice where insurance is not accepted.

"We are a great fit for those without insurance. We are a great fit with those with great insurance plans who have high deductibles," Riggs said.  "Their money can be maximized at our facility."

The price of a traditional doctor's visit is often negotiated by the doctor and insurance company. Riggs said cutting the insurance company out allows her to charge less.

"Their pricing guidelines are not always the most beneficial or the cheapest for our patients," she said.  

The Sweedens pay $1,000 a year for the family plan that gets them unlimited office visits, a general physical and a sports physical.  It also helps cut the cost of other expenses like lab work to as low as $8.  A parent with a child who needs stitches will pay $80; non-members pay slightly higher fees.

"I don't have to worry about if can I afford to take each child in to the doctor," Sweedens said.

Riggs said any out-of-pocket expense can usually be submitted to your insurance company for credit toward your deductible. She also said there are other cash-only practices in the Kansas City area.

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