CostCare, a Missoula-based medical company, announced the one-year anniversary of offering its “Direct Primary Care” model. CostCare co-founder Dr. Carol Bridges says there are five DPC clinics in Montana.

“Direct Primary Care is a membership type model for primary care,” Bridges said. “People pay a monthly fee and with that, all of their office visits are covered. Pretty much anything we can do in the office itself is included in the membership fee.”

According to Bridges, this monthly membership is extremely affordable for most Montanans.

“The monthly membership for adults is $70 a month and then for children it is $25 a month until they reach the end of high school, but they have to be on with an adult membership,” Bridges said. “The average emergency room charge in this country now is like $2,600. That is three years of your primary care paid for if I can prevent you from going into one emergency room.”

Bridges says the child membership price is significantly cheaper so that larger families can afford the care they need. She says you get to name your provider when you sign up. After that, you receive an email with your provider’s contact information.

“They can then access us via office visits, email, text, call, or FaceTime,” Bridges said. “We are much more readily available and we can try to prevent them from going to the emergency room or going to the hospital. Sometimes I don’t necessarily need to see the patient in the office. We can handle a lot of things over the phone or via text.”

Bridges says she can’t wait until we get to the point where we don’t have to deal with insurance anymore. In the future, she hopes it will be all about the provider and patient relationship.