In February, I discussed a cross border insurance plan that covers doctors visits, but not catastrophic medical issues. Now the No Insurance Club (NIC) offers similar coverage in the U.S. According to the firm’s press release, “patients receive up to 12 office visits per year that also include immunizations, $4 or less in-office prescriptions, and additional services including blood tests” with no deductibles and no co-pays. The site claims that there is no premium but the one-time “membership fee” of $480/year is in essence a premium.
Healthcare Economist’s Take
I am not sure why these plans would be popular. Since NIC does not cover catastrophic medical care, the enrollees do not receive the main benefit of insurance–protecting individuals against high cost, low probability events. Consumers may like these basic medical plans since they are in essence forced savings; individual must pay the annual fee and after that do not have to worry about paying for future’s doctor’s visits.
It is also possible that NIC negotiated lower rates with doctors. Instead of significant administrative costs inherent in the insurance claims systems, doctors may take a lower fee to receive a “retainer” from NIC. Thus, the plan may provide a significant cost advantages for the uninsured over just paying for doctors visits yourself. A final question is whether or not these doctors are of high quality.
Regardless of the merits of this type of insurance, it is nice to see new products emerging to meet consumers needs.