What is Direct Primary Care or DPC?

Direct primary care or DPC is a membership model where comprehensive primary care services are provided in an innovative way for an affordable, monthly fee. DPC allows members to better budget their health care expenses, while giving us the ability to design and provide a comprehensive service offering at an affordable price that is built around you and your family having a better experience and achieving optimal health.

How much does it cost?

The monthly fee is $60 per month age 17 and under, $80 per month age 18 to 64, and $100 per month age 65 and up, with discount options for family members. If you are a business covering the cost of membership for employees, the fee is $70 per month per employee, with additional discounts for family members.

How is DPC better or different from traditional primary care?

The DPC model addresses almost all the pain points in traditional primary care.

  • Rather than making more money the more patients you see, more success is achieved by keeping people as healthy as possible.
  • Rather than having 5 to 10 minutes of time with your provider after waiting for 30 minutes or more, you get 30 to 60 minutes of time with your provider with minimal to no wait.
  • Rather than reactively treating people with illness, there is a renewed focus on root cause of illness and keeping you healthy in the first place.
  • Rather than having no predictability on cost, with copays, surprise bills, and denied claims as the norm, you know exactly what you are paying every month.
  • Rather than only delivering care in ways reimbursed by insurance, care is delivered on your terms, whether it be in-person, over the phone, via video, or a simple text exchange.
  • Rather than facing constant stress and practicing on the edge of burn out, providers can focus on being great providers, having great relationships with members, and again love this deeply meaningful calling.
  • Rather than focusing on checking the correct boxes to get paid by an insurance company, providers just focus on you, your unique situation, and helping you to optimize your health.

We like to say it is primary care as it is meant to be.

Why would I pay an “extra” monthly fee for primary care? Is this concierge medicine?

The membership fee is better thought of as a more affordable and predictable way to access better primary care. For most members and employers, this approach when combined with high-deductible health insurance or medical cost sharing plan leads to saving money, sometimes a lot of money, compared to traditional insurance models.

DPC is not concierge medicine per se but rather provides access to a concierge-level experience and services at a price designed to be affordable for people of all incomes, with or without insurance.

What is included in the monthly fee?

The monthly fee covers comprehensive primary care for the whole family, including wellness, prevention, health coaching, chronic disease management, acute visits, and care for the occasional sick days. Members get unlimited in-person, phone, text, and video visits with our team of family doctors, nurses, health coaches, and pharmacists. Up to 10 common lab tests, 5 x-rays, 5 in-office procedures, and routine flu and tetanus vaccinations are also included each year. Our members have access to over 300 medications at wholesale pricing through our local, innovative partner Sona Pharmacy. Finally, we actively work to coordinate and navigate the experience of our members in the broader health care system.

How much do non-included services cost? How much does ___ cost?

For services not included your memberships, such as in-office procedures like joint injections and skin biopsies, our Pricing is upfront and transparent. In addition, our members have access to over 300 medications at wholesale pricing through our local, innovative partner Sona Pharmacy. Contact us directly at [hello@lanterndpc.com] or (828) 552-5757 with any specific requests.

Are there any hidden fees or commitments? What if I decide to cancel?

There are no hidden fees, and we seek to provide transparent pricing for our membership and included services, as well as non-included services. We even seek to establish cash pricing options for services we refer out for, such an MRI imaging study or colonoscopy screening.

We ask for a 6 month commitment for all members, and after that, you may cancel with 30 days notice.

For members that cancel and then want to re-enroll within 2 years, there is a $400 re-initiation fee if availability allows.

Who can join Lantern Health? How do I sign-up and get started? How do I book an appointment?

Children and adults of any age can join Lantern Health. Employers are also able to sign-up employees and their families.

You can sign up online by [clicking here]. You can book an appointment by contacting the Lantern Health team via text through the Spruce Health app or phone at (828) 552-5757. After enrollment, a Lantern Health team member will contact you to get you fully connected to our team and setup your first appointment. See Member Resources for more details.

Does Lantern Health partner with businesses and employers?

Yes, we partner with local and regional business owners looking to invest in the health and wellbeing of their employees and their businesses, with our memberships designed to fully support the wellness and primary care needs of your employees and their families. Our employers range in size from 3 to more than 400 employees, and we’d welcome a chance to share more about how these employers are enhancing the experience and health of their teams, saving money, reducing absenteeism, and improving employee retention. We can also connect you with insurance advisors capable of building innovative plans as well as forward-thinking TPAs to support them.

We are also part of the [3×5 Health Collective], a national collective of local, independent direct primary care practices providing personalized and comprehensive primary care services to employees and businesses across the country, particularly those with multiple locations or a distributed workforce.

Can children become members of Lantern Health? Do you offer women’s health? What about OB care?

As family physicians, we are trained to care for the whole family. We care for newborns and children of all ages, including navigation of pediatric vaccinations. We provide comprehensive women’s services including pap smears, birth control such as IUDs, and routine gynecologic care. We provide prenatal and OB care with privileges for deliveries at Mission Hospital.

What if I am healthy and rarely go to the doctor?

We fully support extremely healthy people, those facing the challenges of multiple chronic conditions, and those in between. We meet you wherever you are, personalizing care to meet your unique needs. We feel that everyone benefits from the time and comprehensive services we offer, and our memberships are not based on pre-existing conditions or level of health.

For healthy folks, we focus the bulk of our time on both keeping you healthy and optimizing your health, pulling from lifestyle, integrative, and functional medicine modalities to do so. We are also there for the unexpected and occasional sick days, helping you to avoid the potentially significant expense of a trip to the ER or urgent care.

What existing medical conditions are you able to care for? How about mental health?

We fully support extremely healthy people, those facing the challenges of multiple chronic conditions, and those in between. We meet you wherever you are, personalizing care to meet your unique needs. We feel that everyone benefits from the time and comprehensive services we offer, and our memberships are not based on pre-existing conditions or level of health.

Our training affords us the ability to care for a full range of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, thyroid disease, allergies, autoimmune conditions, asthma, COPD, obesity, insomnia, anemia, kidney issues, arthritis, and complications of tobacco, alcohol, and other substance use, among others. We care for a wide range of mental health challenges, including anxiety, depression, stress, bipolar, OCD, and ADHD, including prescribing medications when indicated. And we approach all of these with a focus on the whole person, with an emphasis on lifestyle-oriented interventions and therapies.

How do you feel about alternative and integrative approaches to health care?

We seek robust scientific evidence in all the care we provide while adapting it to personal values. We believe that focusing on whole person care, shared decision-making, and the intrinsic impact of social determinants is better primary care. Our providers have training in lifestyle medicine, integrative health coaching, and functional medicine, and similarly, we believe this is just better primary care. We value our collaborative relationships with various other skilled providers in our community and region.

What is health coaching?

A health coach is a professional who has expertise in health behavior and lifestyle change, with the skills and time necessary to provide you with the opportunity to discover your own direction, motivation, and support in reaching your personal health goals.

Do you offer any services for non-members? Do you take walk-ins?

We offer anyone interested in membership the ability to come in for a 15 minute introductory visit with a team member. We do not offer other appointments to non-members.

While we always offer same or next-day visits for acute issues to our members, we do require all appointments to be scheduled, which can be done easily and quickly by phone, text, or online.

What are Lantern Health’s regular office hours? What about after hours and weekends?

Our office hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Because we know that health and wellbeing isn’t limited to only eight hours per day, our physicians are available to members directly by phone at (828) 552-5757 for urgent issues on any day at any time. Further, we are virtually available by text 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays, as well as 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekends.

When the standard office hours don’t work for your schedule, we will work with you to find a solution. If needed based on your circumstances, we can arrange home visits as well.

With a membership at Lantern Health, the need for separate urgent care and telemedicine services goes away most of the time.

Who are the team members at Lantern Health? How do I see if they are a good fit?

We are a growing team of family physicians, nurses, and integrative health coaches. Learn more about our team [here].

We offer anyone interested in membership the ability to come in for a 15 minute introductory visit with a team member.

How much time do I get with providers at appointments?

In short, as much time as you need. Our shortest appointment time is 30 minutes, and annual or comprehensive appointments are 60 minutes or more. We value this time to look beneath the surface at the root cause of illness with a focus on helping support you to achieve optimal health.

Do you offer memberships outside of western North Carolina? What if I need care while traveling or away from home?

Our physicians are licensed in the state of North Carolina and cannot practice medicine in other states. Our only location is in western North Carolina at this time. That said, because of our virtual capabilities, you can reach out to us no matter where you are for guidance, and in most situations, particularly given we know you well, we can help you address your acute issue, including medications.

If you do not live in our area or live in another state, please see the following resource to help locate a DPC practice near you: [https://mapper.dpcfrontier.com/].

If you are an employer with lives in multiple locations or interest in multiple practice offerings or multiple DPC practice offerings, please see the following resource for all practices that are part of the 3×5 Health Collective to which we belong: [https://3×5.health].

Is a Lantern Health membership insurance or a substitute for health insurance?

No, we are neither health insurance or an alternative to health insurance. We are a highly effective way to access exceptional primary care, and we recommend everyone have health insurance or a medical cost sharing plan to cover both unexpected and expensive medical costs.

Can Lantern Health bill my insurance? Can I submit claims to my insurance for Lantern Health services?

We do not utilize your insurance for our services and do not contract with any public or private insurance plans.

Insurance companies generally do not accept membership fees as a reimbursable expense. For non-included services, we are able to provide an itemized invoice that you can submit to your insurance plan if you wish, though most of our members choose not to do this given how affordable these services are.

Can I still use insurance elsewhere? What if I need specialized care or inpatient care?

For services outside of our offerings, such as an imaging study, specialist visit, or surgery, we can place orders or refer you just as another doctor would do. For these services, you can use your insurance how you normally would, and in many instances, we can also connect you with a competitive cash-priced option if preferred. Either way, we will help you navigate the best option to get you the care you need.

We have strong connections with various local specialists, and we maintain OB privileges at Mission Hospital. If you are hospitalized or have surgery, we’ll check in on you to help you get the care you need.

Do I need to have or keep health insurance? What if I don’t have health insurance?

To ensure your access extends beyond our walls and you get the care that’s right for your unique needs, particularly for unexpected and expensive events, we recommend everyone have and keep their health insurance.

Our services and offering are the same, with or without insurance. We can also connect you with insurance advisors with creative and more affordable insurance and medical cost sharing solutions.

Where is Lantern Health located?

We have one location currently, as listed below. We are actively looking at additional location opportunities to better serve our community and region, hopefully transforming the experience of primary care for as many people as possible in the process.

Lantern Health – Downtown Asheville
84 Coxe Avenue, Suite 240
Asheville, NC 28801
(828) 552-5757

Have additional questions? Let us know and we’re happy to answer them.

Call or text us 828-552-5757 or email us: hello@lanterndpc.com.