Dying to be Accepted

Decrease in Physicians Accepting Insurance

Although the country is taking major steps to expand healthcare insurance to cover a wider patient population, a recent study has shown that sometimes even having health insurance is not enough to get the care you need.

Since 2005, doctors have been accepting fewer patients with health insurance, especially those with private insurance. And, those marijuana doctors in California won't give a two-second glance at a Blue Cross (we hear)--so don't even think about it.

Comparing the insurance acceptance rates in 2005 versus 2008, the acceptance rate for patients with private insurance dropped from 93.3 percent to 87.8 percent. Medicare patients' acceptance rate had a less significant drop, from 95.5 percent to 92.9 percent. Both declines in patient acceptance could be traced to low reimbursement rates, but the decline in private insurance patient acceptance could also be due to the bureaucratic snafus that sometimes accompany private insurance administrations.

Dr. Tara Bishop, the lead author of the study, noted, "At a moment when the country is poised to achieve near-universal coverage, patients' access to care could be a casualty of the collision between the medical profession and the insurance industry." The authors hope that their study will serve to highlight difficulties in the healthcare system for policymakers.

No one wants a doctor to be earning a teacher's salary (no offense, Mrs. Belknap), but at this rate, our library card is looking to be just as valuable in a hospital as Aetna. Get it together, people.

Source: Weill Cornell Medical College (2011, June 28). Surprising drop in physicians' willingness to accept patients with insurance, U.S. study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110627183938.htm


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