Dr. Robert Lamberts, a primary care physician in Martinez, Ga., has adopted a new system of billing patients, charging a monthly flat fee instead of taking insurance, Medicare or Medicaid for office visits, according to local NBC 26.
Lamberts's fee, ranging from $30 and $60 a month depending on a patient's age, covers all primary-care services and is designed to allow the doctor to provide more personalized care, according to his website.
"My fee covers only my services, not the cost of visits to specialists or many of the tests I may order," the website states. "This means that insurance may still be needed for much of the care I may order."
Lamberts is hoping the billing scheme could offer a solution to surging health care costs that price many patients out of decent care.
Rising health insurance premiums have strained both patients and physicians alike in recent years. Simply dealing with health insurers costs the average physician nearly $70,000 annually, prompting some doctors to explore other billing options, according to SFGate.
While Lamberts hopes his new model will inspire other physicians to do the same, he’s not the first to try it. At least as far back as 2009, doctors have experimented with a flat fee system. And one Illinois doctor has been working outside the system for decades. Since the 1970s, Russell Dohner has charged patients just $5 per visit, despite barely making enough to pay his nurses.