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Health news and blog

    Primary care

    How regularly seeing your primary care provider saves you money in the long run

    Getting consistent care can reduce poor health and medical expenses over time.


    Many people view primary care providers (PCPs) as the first stop for regular check-ups, medical advice, and for minor injuries/illnesses. This doctor gets to know you, your health history, and your specific needs. With this relationship, they can reduce poor health and medical expenses over time.

    Going to the doctor might seem pricey, but regular visits to a PCP can actually save you money. Kelly Woodward, DO, Lifestyle Medicine at Intermountain Health Park City Hospital, advised how primary care helps your wallet.

    “One way to think of primary care is to think about it as your medical home,” said Dr. Woodward. “Although there’s many specialists throughout the system, it’s often best to start through your primary care because they know you best.”

    Preventative care saves money

    PCPs focus on preventive care, which can help identify and manage health issues early, potentially preventing costly complications down the line. This includes regular check-ups, screenings, and vaccinations.

    “Part of our primary care physician job is to recognize, be mindful of, and look for the prevention that each patient is due for,” said Dr. Woodward.

    Early detection is key. For example, if you catch high blood pressure early, you can manage it with simple changes and cheap medicine. But if you don't catch it, you might end up with serious and expensive problems like heart disease or stroke.

    Dr. Woodword suggested viewing preventive care like car maintenance. “We’re here when things aren’t going right, and when things are going right for check-ups,” he said. “You gotta open the hood every now and then, and kick the tires, or things can go really bad.”

    Seeing your primary care doctor regularly keeps your body running smoothly and prevents costly treatments.

    Managing chronic conditions

    Chronic conditions like diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure need regular monitoring and management. PCPs play a crucial role in helping you manage these conditions effectively.

    Managing chronic conditions with regular primary care visits can lead to significant savings. For instance, a primary care doctor can help you manage diabetes with regular check-ups, diet advice, and medication. Without this ongoing care, diabetes can lead to severe and costly complications.

    Regular visits to your primary care doctor ensure that your condition is under control and that you’re following the best treatment plan. This ongoing management prevents complications and reduces hospital visits.

    Avoiding expensive ER/UC visits

    Emergency rooms (ERs) and insta/urgent care visits can be very expensive. Going to these on-demand care sites for a minor issue can be costly, and many people use them because they don't have a primary care doctor.

    Your PCP can handle many health issues that don't need emergency care. For example, if you have a bad cough or a minor injury, your primary care doctor can treat you for a lot less money than an ER.

    Although emergency rooms and insta/urgent care centers serve important purposes, you don’t want them to be your medical home. “Ongoing care requires that your medical team knows you and at urgent care, you’re not going to see the same caregivers every time,” said Dr. Woodward. “You want to use the urgent care for what they’re for, when primary care isn't available.”

    Many insurance plans offer lower copays or cost-sharing for visits to a PCP compared to specialist or emergency room visits, making routine care more affordable for patients.

    Coordinated care = fewer medical bills

    PCPs do more than treat colds and injuries. They coordinate your overall care. This means they help manage your health needs, keep track of your treatments, and refer you to specialists if needed.

    When Dr. Woodward looks for a PCP, he seeks out coordinated care. “I also want the whole clinic team to be working together on my behalf, and that they’re also using the information available in my records,” he said.

    When you have one doctor coordinating your care, you avoid expensive duplicate tests and treatments. If you see a specialist without a referral from your primary care doctor, you might end up with tests you don’t need. Your primary care doctor can help you get the right tests and treatments at the right time.

    Coordinated care also means better health outcomes. When your primary care doctor manages your overall health, you stay healthier and avoid costly future health expenses. Your primary care doctor provides personalized advice on lifestyle changes that can lead to long-term savings, as well.

    Primary care is not just about treating you when you’re sick. It's about keeping you healthy, and saving money is just a bonus. Making an appointment with a primary care physician can lead to both a healthier you, and healthier finances. 


    How regularly seeing your primary care provider saves you money in the long run