Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cash Docs

A trend that is gaining steam and creating a divide is doc's that shun health insurance in favor of cash.

Let's face it. Dependence on health insurance is over the top. Do you really need to pay an insurance carrier to cover expenditures less than $500? If so, you have bigger issues of concern.

Some medical practices are limiting or even refusing insurance payments in favor of cash paid direct by the patient.

Lower overhead is a benefit. Easy access to health care is another.
Though data on private practices is scanty, a new survey of 13,575 doctors from around the country by The Physicians Foundation found that over the next one to three years, more than 50 percent plan to take steps that reduce patient access to their services, and nearly 7 percent plan to switch to cash-only or concierge practices, in which patients pay an annual fee or retainer in addition to other fees.
NY Times, "When doctors refuse insurance"

50%? Ouch.

But, but, but what about all those newly insured patients with their shiny new Obamacare cards?

Cash-only practices may exacerbate the access problem. Since her doctor stopped accepting her insurance, Kathryn Vanasek, 43, a mother of two in Manhattan, hasn’t been back for a checkup or preventive screenings, relying on a new walk-in clinic for urgent problems like an ear infection.
Her annual physical would cost at least $250 out of pocket, Ms. Vanasek said, but she would not get any money back from her insurer until she met the deductible.
How is that possible?
All legitimate major medical plans were required to offer "free" preventive checkup beginning over a year ago.
Will the concept of cash only doc's continue to grow as projected? Time will tell.
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