A direct health care practice is a medical practice (also called a retainer, concierge or boutique medicine) that charges you a monthly fee and, in return, provides unlimited access to doctors for primary-care services.
How they work
In our state, direct health care practices must register with us. Each is different, but all:
- Serve as your primary care provider for routine and preventive-care services.
- Include a set monthly fee.
- Don't involve insurance, so there are no extra charges, deductibles, copays, or insurance billing.
What to consider before you sign up
- Direct health care practices are not considered qualifying coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
- Direct health care providers offer only primary health care services.
- They don't include coverage for hospital stays, prescription drugs or dental care.
- If you join a direct health care practice, consider also buying a high-deductible health plan, in case you need more costly medical care.
Know your rights
Direct health care practices can't:
- Charge you more based on your health status or gender.
- Change the monthly fee more than once a year.
Direct health practices may charge you an additional fee that's not part of your agreement if they notify you before you receive the service.
If you need to file a complaint, the Washington state Department of Health handles the following consumer complaints about direct health care practices:
- Health care provider and facility complaints (doh.wa.gov)
- Nursing complaints (nursing.wa.gov)
- Doctor and physician assistant complaints (wmc.wa.gov)
Find a registered direct health care practice
Please use our company lookup tool (fortress.wa.gov) to search for direct health care practices in your area.