Sartell Clinic Accepting Memberships, Not Health Insurance
SARTELL -- There's a new type of medical clinic in the St. Cloud metro area. Sartell Family Medicine is Minnesota's first pure Direct Primary Care Clinic. What makes them so unique is they don't accept health insurance.
Nope, we don't accept insurance whatsoever, it's all a cash-based model. Some health care insurers have allowed people to use their HSA or HRA cards, but no insurance.
Doctor Cody Wendlandt says instead they charge monthly membership fees of $80 for individuals or $300 for a family. He says you're also charged a flat fee for procedures, which are all specifically listed on their website so there's no surprises when you get the bill.
We have low-cost procedures, which we're not billing to insurers, so we don't have to increase our rates. Stitches, for example, are $25. We also do what's called in-house dispensing so we buy our medications in bulk, we are able to bottle them at our clinic and give them to you in hand on your way out the door, often times cheaper than what your co-pay would be at a pharmacy.
Wendlandt says the clinic is meant to take care of your regular family doctor needs, and many of their members still carry insurance with a higher deductible.
The problem is everybody nowadays is on a really high-deductible plan that really doesn't pay for anything. So you go to urgent care or the emergency room or go see your regular doctor you're still paying out of pocket until you hit that $6,000, $9,000 or $10,000 deductible. What a lot of our patients are doing is they're opting out for the very high deductible plans in case they are hospitalized or they go to the ER, and then we take care of primary care for much less than what a standard traditional clinic visit would be.
Members are able to schedule unlimited appointments each month and can be scheduled within 48 hours.
Wendlandt is board certified in family medicine and he says this model of not dealing with insurance companies allows him to get back to focusing on caring for his patients with more of an old-school style of doctoring.
Wendlandt says it's a health care option for a wide range of people.
The model would be right for you if you have a family and you have kiddos that get sick quite often, the model would be right for you if you are a single person who is struggling to reach your deductible each year but you still need health care, the model would be right for you even if you don't have insurance and you need something as a next best option.
Wendlandt says while this model is new to Minnesota, it is already being done in Kansas. There are other similar clinics in Minnesota that offer a concierge type of medicine, but Wendlandt says those clinics are typically much more expensive.