The Virginia Legislature will again debate direct primary care legislation this year, which could provide a cost-effective option for healthcare services for Virginia consumers and small business owners.
Direct primary care is a sort of healthcare subscription model. People pay primary care doctors a fee and get an agreed-upon set of healthcare services in return. Under this model, doctors could also contact directly with businesses to provide primary care services to employees. Legislation paving the way for direct primary care to flourish in Virginia would go a long way toward addressing small business concerns about skyrocketing healthcare costs.
Last year’s bill, HB 685, would have clarified that direct primary care agreements are not health insurance and therefore can’t be regulated like health insurance. So, Virginia insurance laws would not apply to them and licenses wouldn’t be required to sell them. The bill also made clear that patients can terminate direct primary care agreements at will, get refunded any money paid in advance, and that healthcare providers cannot bill insurance companies for services that are covered under the agreement. Unfortunately, Gov. Terry McAuliffe vetoed the legislation in May 2016.