New subscription-based healthcare clinic opens in Austin

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(ABC 6 News) – Out of pocket medical costs can take many by surprise, and for those who may struggle to afford traditional medical care, or want to try something new, there’s a clinic in Austin that may offer an affordable alternative.

HELPcare just opened in Austin for primary and preventative care, the owners say it’s all based on small-town family practices.

Daniel Franklin has known Dr. David Strobel since Strobel was in Boy Scouts.

"I taught him his first aid merit badge and he passed with flying colors. He always has been very intelligent," said Franklin.

Now, he says there’s no one else he’d rather receive medical care from, "I said wow, if I had known you were going to treat me I would’ve done a better job with your boy scout merit badge," joked Franklin.

Lee Aase and Strobel founded HELPcare in Austin. The pair met at an Austin middle school, and started working on the clinic in 2019. The business model is a little different than your usual doctor’s office or health care clinic. HELPcare doesn’t accept insurance, instead members pay a flat monthly fee and receive unlimited primary and preventative care. Aase and Strobel say this helps keep costs low.

"We also know lots of small businesses and business owners that can’t afford traditional insurance and can’t afford to give a health benefit to their employees but to be able to have a package that covers most of the care they need for most of their life is a really neat thing to be able to have," adds Aase.

The care includes basic prescriptions, lab work and sick visits.

"The really sad thing is people get health insurance and then do everything they can to not go to the doctor because it’s all going to be out of pocket. But our focus is we want to do it for Austin," said Aase.

HELPcare refers patients to larger hospitals for things like broken bones and cancer treatments. But, the clinic does have a small procedure room for those who need a few stitches.

Another benefit Strobel says is he’s able to spend up to an hour with each patient, "One size does not fit all. They not only have our interests at heart, they want what’s best for the community," said Franklin.

Aase and Strobel say they soon hope to open HELPcare Foundation, a not-for-profit for translation services, as well as scholarships for those who may not be able to afford a subscription to their clinic.