Tina Trumeter was out at dinner with her husband and three sons when one said he wasn't feeling well. Worried he may have strep throat, Trumeter called her family doctor to see if he could meet them at their home.
While it might sound like a scene from Leave it to Beaver, it’s actually modern day medicine. The Trumeters are members of WhiteGlove House Call Health in Central Texas, a membership-based routine health care provider.
The Cost of House Calls
The monthly fee ranges from $35 to $100, depending on membership length and whether it’s for an individual or family. The cost per visit is $35, and they'll bring your prescription meds too--generic drugs are free, and you'll pay your insurance plan's co-pay for name-brands. They'll even throw in chicken soup at no extra charge. "The way we make our money is not on visits, but on memberships,” says WhiteGlove president Bob Fabbio. The company keeps costs low by not having a physical office and maintaining a small staff. “We wake up everyday and say, 'How many new members can we sign up today?'"
"Less than 1% of the time, we get a call from somebody where we have to refer them to a specialist or the emergency room,” Fabbio says. “We prescribe meds in the field, we suture, we immobilize, we do EKGs." Patients know that the service is only for routine care and that they must go elsewhere for specialists or emergencies.
Insurance factors in as well. Lab work and prescriptions are run through traditional health insurance. Humana-insured patients are privy to free membership. For some members, like Trumeter, this allows them to restructure their health insurance plans to cover mostly emergency medical care instead of paying deductibles on primary care.