FAQ

What is Unorthodoc?

Unorthodoc is your personalized medical home. Through an affordable membership, you partner directly with your doctor for your family’s primary care, not only making your care safer but more sensible and flexible. It protects the most valuable real estate in health care — the distance between your eyes and those of your doctor.

 

What is “Primary Care?”

That’s the part of health care you should be using most. It’s your wellness visits, sick/urgent visits, follow-up visits, and trusted health advice. It should be the container of all your important medical information in a form that is easy for you to access. If done right, it’s the first place you turn to for any health issue and reduces your need for specialists and hospitals. When those things are necessary, your trusted physician adviser should be your advocate and coordinator.

 

What is “Direct” Primary Care?

It is a new kind of health care based on an old-fashioned model that operates outside of insurance.  It’s membership healthcare where patients pay the doctor directly, using a predictable fee structure no matter how much is “done” during your visits. This allows the doctor to stop thinking about how insurance requirements and billing will impact your care. Instead, she can focus on providing you with the health care you deserve at a cost the helps your bottom line instead of some third party.

Direct primary care is financed by direct payment, outside of insurance, usually in the form of a monthly fee. In return, patients have ready access to physicians who deliver ongoing, comprehensive, and personalized primary care. Direct primary care resolves the growing frustrations with the current health care system, particularly problems with third party payment, paper work, and government bureaucracy, experienced both by patients and by their physicians. Preliminary data show excellent outcomes and greater satisfaction for patients enrolled in direct primary care and the physicians who take care of them while reducing overall costs by 20-50%.

 

What is included with my membership to Unorthodoc?

In addition to annual health assessments, and same-day or next day appointments, your membership includes basic labs and tests.  You also have the option to replace in-office visits with phone, video, or home visits, when appropriate. You have 2-way secure messaging, greater access to your records, and most importantly, a long-term relationship with a trusted health adviser that can’t be disrupted by changes in insurance, employers, or politics. Now you have a doctor “in the family.”

 

How much does a membership to Unorthodoc cost?

Member Monthly Yearly (save 10%)
One Adult* $54 $583
Each Child 0-18 (or 26)* $39 $429
Family 2 adults/2 kids* $159 $1,785
Each additional child * $10 $109

Primary care for a family of four is $4.92/day, less than the cost of a sandwich!  One adult is $1.60 a day — the cost of a cup of coffee.

*Per visit charge (in-office, phone, video) $20 adults and kids over 6, $10 kids 6 and under. At least one parent or legal guardian must be enrolled with children from the same family.

 

Why is there a per-visit charge?

The per-visit fee ($20 per adults, $10 kids under 6) allows us to keep your monthly fees steady while covering the costs of the replaceable items and digital platforms we use during your visits. This allows you to have as many visits as you need. It’s also a requirement for this type of practice by North Carolina insurance regulation.

 

Is Unorthodoc a substitute for health insurance?

No, you will still need insurance to cover expensive, unpredictable, or catastrophic health surprises. But since so much of their day-to-day medical care is taken care of with Unorthodoc, members frequently find that their health insurance needs change. They discover that adding an Unorthodoc membership is often less expensive (and more satisfying) than the premium increase to purchase the next higher level of insurance coverage. Health plans that combine Direct Primary Care with wraparound catastrophic coverage are  provisions of the Affordable Care Act (section 1301 a3, page 58, Full Text).

 

What about costs outside of Unorthodoc?

We are not responsible for any costs you incur outside of Unorthodoc, such as outside labs, outpatient radiology, pharmacies, or specialists. However, when using your insurance is essential, we work hard to find those providers that will give you the best value and can refer you to specialists covered by your plan.  If you pick an insurance plan that includes Carrboro Pediatrics and Internal Medicine located next door to Unorthodoc, you can have the convenience of a covered practice when it’s required. Unorthodoc is very familiar with the high quality of their providers and continues to share call with them. Also, to manage expenses effectively, many members do take advantage of health savings accounts or health reimbursement programs to cover deductible expenses.

 

What if I go into the hospital?

In the event you or your family member needs to be hospitalized, your doctor will serve as a consulting physician to the team caring for you.  She will speak to you or your family each day that you are hospitalized and discuss your medical problems, medications, and test results with the hospitalist providing your in-patient care.

 

What about expectant parents?

We are happy to set up a complimentary meet-and-greet with you to discuss your newest family member’s pending arrival and care. Once your baby is born, the doctor can work with the hospital team to insure a smooth transition back home and regular follow-up.

 

What about vaccinations?

Routine vaccinations as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control are not included in the membership price because, by law, they must be covered by all insurance policies or by the state of North Carolina. Our patient care coordinator can give you options handle your vaccines. There are multiple affordable and convenient options, including the office next door.

Can I really reach the doctor 24/7?

Yes! There is no answering service between us. You may get the voicemail if we are busy with a patient in the office, but we will call you back. The doctor is always carrying her pager for truly urgent issues.

 

Can I communicate with the doctor via email or text?

For text, the answer is yes; Unorthodoc is using a HIPAA-compliant texting platform that also allows us to share pictures and documents. Email (currently Gmail) is OK for non-HIPAA compliant communication where personal identifying and health information are not exchanged.

 

Can we have a “virtual” medical visit?

Yes.  This can work really well for follow-up of some chronic problems and for information visits, like discussing lab results. In many instances, it works for some sick visits, as well. This can help families save time and provide earlier treatment plans and interventions in the hopes of returning you to health quicker.

 

What happens when my doctor is on vacation?

Even doctors who love their work need to take breaks to recharge. If your physician is not available, coverage will be provided by trusted colleagues.

 

Why not just use a Minute Clinic or one of the new, cheap online consult services?

One of the biggest problems in health care today is fractured, unrelated healthcare information and services delivered by doctors that don’t know you. Retail solutions can significantly worsen that problem if not used in conjunction with your true Medical Home (see Removing Dangers of Mobile Health Care).

 

What if we get sick while we’re out of town?

One of the benefits of belonging to Unorthodoc is that your physician is always at your fingertips. Utilizing a virtual medical visit, we may be able to provide a treatment plan while you are away from home. This can include calling in a prescription to a local pharmacy. Should you require testing or further evaluation, we may recommend a local urgent care or emergency room and can discuss your history and treatment plan with the receiving physician in that center.

 

We rarely go to the doctor.  Is having a doctor at our beck and call really necessary?

At Unorthodoc, we aim to provide more than just a once-a-year checkup. Even if you are healthy, we strive to keep you that way by providing a wellness plan which revolves around exercise, nutrition, and overall well-being. If you want a health coach or accountability partner, Unorthodoc is here. Our incentive is not to do things to you, but rather provide care for you, both when you need it and when you wish you had it. A membership to Unorthodoc gives you assurance and peace of mind that should a problem arise, we are here for you. But, we are also here when you are healthy, cheering you on and serving as a resource for your health questions

 

When my children go to college, can they still discuss a health concern with you?

College students can reach the doctor by email, phone, text message, or live video. Technology makes it easy for your adolescent or young adult to remain in touch even though they may be miles away. Refills of non-controlled prescriptions can also be handled in the same manner.

 

Can Unorthodoc be given as a gift to children from grandparents or to aging parents from adult children?

Yes.  There is no better gift than the gift of health and peace of mind. Membership gift certificates are available. You may also choose to give the gift of great health care to people of limited means through the Unorthodoc Foundation. Please contact us for information.

 

Can my annual membership fee be paid for with my Health Savings Account?

I recommend talking to your tax professional. HSA funds are not to be used to pay insurance premiums, but Direct Primary Care is not insurance. US House Bill 365 insures that you will be able to do this without question in the future. If you have no other reason to contact your house representative, at least tell them to support bipartisan House Bill 365.

 

What is Unorthodoc’s position on Narcotics, stimulants, & other controlled substances?

Unorthodoc has a very strict policy about prescribing controlled substances (strongly addictive medications). We NEVER prescribe them outside of an actual handshaking office visit with legally established patients. If there is ever a good clinical reason to prescribe such medication, you will be expected to return to the physical office at least once every three months for an evaluation and to pick up your hard copy prescription. It will not/cannot be mailed to, faxed to, or picked up by anyone other than you or your pre-identified legal representative (spouse, parent, etc.).   No exceptions. No excuses. And we never replace “lost” prescriptions. We also belong to the North Carolina Controlled Substances Database. Trust that we check to see if you are being prescribed controlled substances elsewhere. Your life and our licenses are too important not to go by the book here.

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