Local doctor offers membership planBy PAT BROWN,
Many Simpson countians are facing a healthcare issue that prevents them from getting adequate healthcare. It boils down to one simple problem: they are unable to afford a primary care physician.
An affordable option will soon be available, thanks to a new plan that is the brainchild of Dr. John Miller, one of Simpson County’s newest medical doctors.
Dr. Miller is in the process of implementing a new healthcare program for patients who are unable to afford healthcare. The program is being offered through his clinic, Miller Family Healthcare, located in Tuscan Towers in Magee and associated with Magee General Hospital.
The plan is to offer healthcare through a membership program to people who cannot afford health insurance.
The plan works like this: for a small membership fee of $40 per month a patient can see Dr. Miller for up to two office visits per month. The plan gives those people who could not otherwise afford visits to the doctor’s office an affordable option and at the same time saves the patient as much as a typical $100 office visit.
Dr. Miller said, “This allows a patient to have primary care for less than the cost of an average cell phone bill.”
The new program was prompted by the fact that after Dr. Miller started his practice he realized that many people in Simpson County were not seeing doctors for the simple reason that they did not have insurance and could not otherwise afford to see a doctor when they needed to.
Dr. Miller said that another issue keeping patients from medical care is that United Health Care will not certify his practice, because according to their figures, there are enough existing physicians serving the Magee area and therefore they will not certify him for care. That limit comes despite the fact that some of the existing physicians here are no longer seeing new patients.
Miller said he got the idea for offering this service through a seminar he attended in Jackson three years ago. He said the speaker, a doctor, was offering this service in Apex, North Carolina. He said the service was a success and because of the way it was managed it allowed for better, more thorough office visits. He also explained that when managed properly the plan shortened wait times to see a care giver.
The plan also allows for a spouse or significant other to benefit. Two members can be on the plan for $60 per month, and the ceiling on a family plan is $125 per month. Payment of the plan will either be set up on a monthly draft or through an automatic transaction on a debit card.
Miller says he thinks that most of the people who will participate in the plan are people who may be working for themselves or with a company that doesn’t have a healthcare plan. He expected people in the age group of late 40s and above to find this program most beneficial.
Miller said that government regulations prevent patients who are using Medicare from participating in the program. But his office is working now to determine whether other insurance companies will allow for participation in the program. He did state, however, that Medicare patients can use his service.
Dr. Miller expects the new healthcare plan to be in operation by the first of May. He urged anyone who has questions to contact his office and speak with Lynn Bishop or Tammy Lichte at (601) 849-1221.