Why Minimum Essential Coverage
(MEC) is Not Enough
WHAT IS MEC Coverage?
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) introduced the concept of Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) to the insurance industry, and it encompasses preventive services like a yearly physical and standard blood work, which are offered free of cost on MEC plans. However, this care comes at a price, with higher premiums and deductibles for both individuals and businesses.
To combat rising healthcare costs, many employers have turned to high-deductible plans, which offer lower-cost options but ultimately end up costing employees more. An unintended consequence of MEC plans is that primary care can become inconvenient for people who want to discuss other health concerns during their yearly preventive visit.
Many healthcare providers now inform patients during preventive visits that they need to come back for a separate appointment to discuss other health concerns. This is because if a patient mentions something that requires a diagnosis, the visit will no longer be considered preventive, and the patient may be charged for the visit.
This situation can be frustrating for employees as they are charged for a visit that they believed would be free, and they have to schedule a separate appointment to discuss their health concerns. Moreover, the financial setup of MEC plans may discourage individuals from seeking care when they are sick, as the plans only cover preventive visits and not sick visits.
To bridge this gap, Direct Primary Care (DPC) works in conjunction with MEC plans. DPC offers appointments for both preventive and illness visits without any co-pays or concerns about how the visit will affect the deductible. This makes DPC an ideal addition for individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes.
DPC is also convenient, with same-day appointments often available, and virtual visits via phone, text, email, or video conference, making it easy for employees to manage their health without interrupting their work. This is beneficial for both employees and employers, as it leads to better management of medical conditions and higher productivity.
While MEC plans have undoubtedly made preventive health services more accessible, they may not offer enough for many individuals. DPC helps fill this void by offering affordable, reliable, and convenient everyday care, making it an excellent incentive for employee recruitment and retention.