Direct Primary Care vs Traditional Primary Care

The traditional healthcare model involves confusing and complicated insurance plans and, limits the time patients can spend with their doctor. Instead, many are turning to direct primary care. Many patients have become frustrated with the traditional model, with doctor visits often feeling short, impersonal, expensive, and time-consuming. 


The requirements insurance companies impose on doctors often create situations where not only do patients feel frustrated and discouraged, but doctors do too. In response to this, doctors have been looking for different ways to structure care. Both doctors and patients want a personal relationship and time to actually get to the root of the issue, understand a patient’s unique needs, and develop a plan that keeps patients healthy.


Direct primary care (DPC) is a direct relationship between the patient and the doctor— no insurance company allowed. In a DPC arrangement, a patient pays a fixed, monthly fee for care. This is in contrast to an insurance model, where the patient pays the insurance company (usually a lot), and then the insurance company pays the doctor (usually not very much). This insurance-based model creates many skewed incentives and challenges that DPC practices seek to avoid.

What Is Direct Primary Care?

Direct primary care (DPC) is a healthcare model that provides compassionate, supportive services for a low monthly fee instead of through health insurance. DPC is not health insurance— instead, it is a direct relationship between the patient and the doctor.


The benefits of direct primary care through Sequoia MD include:

  • A personal relationship with your doctor and care team
  • Longer appointment times (30+ minutes)
  • Direct communication through text and email
  • A fixed monthly subscription with no hidden fees
  • Medication and lab discounts

Importantly, there are a few things that you also get to skip:

  • Lots of hassles
  • Long wait times
  • Having your concerns dismissed
  • Having your concerns dismissed
  • Feeling rushed

At Sequoia MD, our patients are empowered with the care they need to live healthy, meaningful lives

What Is Traditional Health Care?

So, what is traditional health care? Traditional health care involves technical and complicated insurance plans. Like direct primary care, it involves incremental fees paid throughout the year. 


Some people may obtain a plan through their employer. Others purchase an individual plan. However, it’s often difficult to tell what you are paying for, what your out-of-pocket costs will be, or who your actual doctor will be. Because insurance is the intermediary between you and your doctor, there’s a lot of additional hassle for you (and your doctor!).

Direct Primary Care vs. Insurance

Direct primary care vs. insurance or traditional plans: Which should you choose? Below, you’ll find a general outline of how to measure direct primary care vs. traditional care.

Traditional Health Care (Insurance)

Most people are familiar with traditional health care. It involves a medical care policy issued by an insurance company. The policyholder agrees to the policy’s terms and limitations.

But the traditional healthcare model is designed to benefit the insurance company rather than the policyholder. This power imbalance becomes especially problematic when the policyholder needs basic care services to address problems and maintain current health. 

One of the main drawbacks of this model involves complicated, arduous communications with your insurance company about basic care services. Many struggle to advocate for themselves in the face of an insurance plan’s strictures. As an entity, your insurance company views even the most basic care needs as negotiable.

Some insurance plans include high deductibles in exchange for lower premiums (monthly costs). Despite contributing toward your plan each year, you still have to pay a pre-specified amount for certain services like tests and treatments.

Under this system, simple blood tests, imaging scans, and prescriptions become unnecessarily complicated. Traditional health care makes maintenance difficult and often unpleasant for most patients. 

Direct Primary Care

With direct primary care, you gain access to compassionate medical care that doesn’t need to meet ambiguous insurance requirements. Many patients prefer this style of healthcare because it allows them and their care teams to make decisions based on what is best for their health instead of what the insurance company will cover.

However, it’s important to realize that DPC is NOT insurance. Instead, DPC is a direct relationship between you and your doctor— without the insurance in the middle.

Direct primary care offers easy access to essential healthcare services. You can text or email your provider, set up video appointments when you’re short on time, and receive prompt answers to pressing questions.

You’ll also develop a personal relationship with your provider. You can feel confident that someone you know and trust is providing reliable treatments and recommendations based on your unique health concerns.

You won’t feel like a number or simply another appointment for your provider to check off their schedule. Instead, you’ll experience inclusive, empathetic care from someone who hears and understands your concerns.

Direct primary care also allows you to pay your primary doctor for their services directly. Each practice has a predetermined price for its care plan. For example, our care plans range from $25 to $100 per month, depending on the patient’s age. 

Choosing the Best Care Plan

Direct primary care vs. traditional models: Which should you choose? The answer comes down to what is important to you.

Some people do not mind things being impersonal— they don’t mind (or even prefer) being part of a large system. For those people, a traditional model of care often works better. If you are part of a large system, and it’s working well for you, there is probably no reason to switch.

However, if being a part of a large system has delivered a lot of frustrations, or if your needs haven’t been met, it might be time to consider alternatives. If you’ve been frustrated with impersonal care and long wait times, it’s important to know that alternatives are out there, and for less than the cost of a coffee per day, you can have access to great medical care that is easy to access, and a doctor that knows you as an individual.

Flexible Care Options With Sequoia MD

At Sequoia MD, we understand the frustration and stress of searching for a doctor. If you’re tired of feeling worse about yourself for trying to get help, it’s time to switch to direct primary care through Sequoia MD.

Our compassionate team listens to and understands your concerns; we think it is important that when you are in our office, you are in a safe, caring environment. Our goal is to empower you with the care you need to live a happy, healthy life.

Call us at (916) 668-7164 to learn more about our services.