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FORUMS General Discussions Politics More Doctors going cash only
TOPIC: More Doctors going cash only
Created by: Nkenswing
Original Starting post for this thread:
Earlier this year, Dr. Michael Ciampi sent a letter to patients at his family practice in South Portland, Maine, telling them he would no longer accept any form of health insurance. He now posts prices on his office website and asks patients to pay for services out of pocket.

Ciampi is part of a small but growing number of physicians who are switching to a cash-only model (not strictly cash -- most also accept payments by check and credit or debit cards) in order to streamline their costs.

CNNMoney says about 4% of respondents to a survey conducted last year by the American Academy of Family Physicians said they took only cash at their practices, up from 3% in 2010. And a physician compensation report by WebMD site Medscape found 6% of doctors had a concierge or cash-only practice this year, compared with 4% in 2012.

Doctors who go the cash-only route get some very tangible advantages. "This arrangement generally enables much lower overhead because claims processing, patient billing and countless hassles related to managed care can be eliminated," the AAFP noted several years ago.

The cash-only approach also creates challenges. According to the AAFP, some health insurance companies prohibit patients from seeing physicians who terminate their contacts, if only for a limited amount of time. Doctors who switch to cash-only practices are also considered out of network by many insurance groups. And patients who want to stay with a cash-only doctor but need to be reimbursed have to file their own insurance claims.

There's also the argument that only healthy and wealthy patients benefit from the cash-only system and that such practices reduce a doctor's range of care because patients with long-term, acute and costly problems will most likely seek out physicians who accept insurance.

Ciampi says his decision to go cash-only cost him several hundred of his 2,000 or so patients.

"It's been almost unanimous that patients have expressed understanding at why I’m doing what I'm doing," he told the Bangor Daily News, "although I've had many people leave the practice because they want to be covered by insurance, which is understandable."

But going to a cash-only system also means Ciampi can practice a more flexible form of medicine. The insurance companies no longer tell him what to charge. He can also offer discounts to financially struggling patients and even make house calls.

"I'm freed up to do what I think is right for the patients," he said. "If I'm providing them a service that they value, they can pay me, and we cut the insurance out as the middleman and cut out a lot of the expense."

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There's cheap doctors?

Pittsburgh PA
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(2789 posts)
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well at least the rich will always have the better doctors to go to. the poor can have the cheap doctors

Allentown PA
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(1306 posts)
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1) if such doctors were being told what their minimum payments were going to be, them they should have posted such statements from the insurance companies and petitioned the government to make law to stop this.

2) If I were to have a doctor. (Can't afford insurance) and I received this letter, I would reply that I guess you won't be seeing me in your office then.

3) I can very well see many doctors pricing themselves so that only the wealthy can afford them. As near as I can tell, there was never any law that compelled a doctor to not already do this without dropping the insurance companies entirely.

In point if fact, most every doctor in hazleton accepts direct payment if cash and has done so sense as far as I remember. It just cost more than insurance and people who live off government aid will find themselves without that doctor. (Chip programs for kids)

Personally I won't stand in their way... If their right and this is cheaper, maybe they can force the insurance companies to better their paper work process. But I doubt it.

The greatest cost remain. Buying the equipment and medications.

Hazle Township PA
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(7706 posts)
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Earlier this year, Dr. Michael Ciampi sent a letter to patients at his family practice in South Portland, Maine, telling them he would no longer accept any form of health insurance. He now posts prices on his office website and asks patients to pay for services out of pocket.

Ciampi is part of a small but growing number of physicians who are switching to a cash-only model (not strictly cash -- most also accept payments by check and credit or debit cards) in order to streamline their costs.

CNNMoney says about 4% of respondents to a survey conducted last year by the American Academy of Family Physicians said they took only cash at their practices, up from 3% in 2010. And a physician compensation report by WebMD site Medscape found 6% of doctors had a concierge or cash-only practice this year, compared with 4% in 2012.

Doctors who go the cash-only route get some very tangible advantages. "This arrangement generally enables much lower overhead because claims processing, patient billing and countless hassles related to managed care can be eliminated," the AAFP noted several years ago.

The cash-only approach also creates challenges. According to the AAFP, some health insurance companies prohibit patients from seeing physicians who terminate their contacts, if only for a limited amount of time. Doctors who switch to cash-only practices are also considered out of network by many insurance groups. And patients who want to stay with a cash-only doctor but need to be reimbursed have to file their own insurance claims.

There's also the argument that only healthy and wealthy patients benefit from the cash-only system and that such practices reduce a doctor's range of care because patients with long-term, acute and costly problems will most likely seek out physicians who accept insurance.

Ciampi says his decision to go cash-only cost him several hundred of his 2,000 or so patients.

"It's been almost unanimous that patients have expressed understanding at why I’m doing what I'm doing," he told the Bangor Daily News, "although I've had many people leave the practice because they want to be covered by insurance, which is understandable."

But going to a cash-only system also means Ciampi can practice a more flexible form of medicine. The insurance companies no longer tell him what to charge. He can also offer discounts to financially struggling patients and even make house calls.

"I'm freed up to do what I think is right for the patients," he said. "If I'm providing them a service that they value, they can pay me, and we cut the insurance out as the middleman and cut out a lot of the expense."

Pittsburgh PA
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(2789 posts)
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TOPIC: More Doctors going cash only