The number of "concierge" or retainer-based physicians has doubled in the past two years, according to the American Academy of Private Physicians, a trend driven in part by low reimbursements and high costs. Doctors in retainer-based practices usually see fewer patients and can offer more in-depth service, which might translate to better health, experts say. Some offer 24-hour physician access, and fees often cover diagnostic exams, wellness plans and lab work.

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