Obamacare Prompts Some Doctors to Drop Insurance

Wednesday, 29 May 2013 09:08 PM

By Greg Richter

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Some doctors have found the cure to the Obamacare blues: They've stopped accepting insurance.

With the cost of filing insurance reimbursement skyrocketing many already have taken a scalpel to their staff, laying off everyone whose job is to fill out paperwork for health insurance companies.

Two to three decades ago, physicians' offices paid out 15 percent to 30 percent of their revenue to filling out insurance forms, Business Insider reports. Today, it's above 60 percent and expected to climb once the Affordable Care Act takes effect in January 2014.

Dr. Michael Ciampi, a family physician in Portland, Maine, stopped accepting all forms of insurance in April. That included Medicare and Medicaid.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Secrets Revealed

"We're asking people to pay at the time of service just like you would pay at your garage or your lawyer or your plumber," Ciampi told the Bangor Daily News. "Now, I work for patients. I don't work for the government and I don't work for insurance companies."

But Ciampi says he's been able to cut his prices – sometimes in half – because he has less overhead. But he's also lost patients, as have other doctors who have made the switch.

And they also have to cut staff, partly because they have no need for people to file insurance paperwork and partly because they lose patients in droves.

Dr. Robert Tomsett of Nashville cut staff after losing 75 percent of his patients, but noted, "I am able to spend more time with each patient than any other time in my career."

According to a 2012 survey, 26 percent of primary physicians already have cut services for Medicaid patients.

In the next two years, half plan to cut some patient access, and about 7 percent say they'll go either to cash-only or so-called concierge practices, where patients pay an annual retainer for unlimited access to their doctor.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Secrets Revealed

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