The Affordable Care Act’s core mission was to make all Americans insurable, by requiring insurers to accept all applicants at rates based on population averages regardless of health status. The act expanded on several programs in Medicare that reform how doctors and hospitals are paid. It has set into motion market dynamics that are affecting medical practice.
One of the biggest talking points of the Obamacare lead up was the promise of keeping your doctor. The reality has been something quite different. Losing a doctor who knows your history and has engaged in your care over a lifetime can have significant negative consequences to outcomes, patient support, and even to the morale of doctors. Health insurance regulations that hinder physicians and staffs at private medical practices, seem to be increasing.
Is Reduced Pay Fair?
Another reason why don’t doctors like this new law? Under this new law doctors are essentially expected to work for reduced pay. Government reimbursements oftentimes are even lower than Medicaid reimbursement, causing doctors to either work for free or even sometimes work at a loss. The grace period is another grey area that leaves doctors with potential financial exposure. If a patient has failed to pay their insurance premiums in over 30 days, the insurance company is under no obligation to pay for their health care. Unfortunately, with a 90 day grace period on premiums, doctors may not know a patient is behind on their insurance premiums and could end up being denied payment for services in the end. In other words, if a patient is being treated for a serious illness, that requires ongoing care, then you as the treating physician, may end up having to assume the financial risk for this.
Time to Leave? Adapt?
More physicians have taken the option to leave individual practice and take salaried positions at hospitals since Obamacare’s passage. This is a frightening prospect for private practices. As a result, the national decline in doctor-owned practices seems to be on fast forward. Furthermore, doctors are opting to accept more cash-favoring patients, like those who are entering the burgeoning aesthetic field.
Obamacare is increasing the amount of doctors that are leaving the medical field and closing up their medical practices altogether. This could become a national crisis if the trend continues. Many surveys have concluded that American doctors have a negative view of Obamacare’s impact on the medical field. One survey found that Obamacare is motivating up to 43% of doctors to speed up their retirement within the next five years. When doctors across the country choose to close their practices prematurely and at the same time, we have less and less doctors going into the medical field, the end result could end up costing us int eh form of a nationwide shortage of doctors.
With Obamacare, adding non-insurance based procedures is now a critical part of every medical practice. It allows you to attract non-insurance revenue, and to continue to practice medicine in a fair and profitable system.
Is your profitability a concern in your private practice? What steps have you taken to ensure your success? Please download the IAPAM’s free ebook “6 Steps to Add Aesthetics to your practice” here for more tips on how to successfully integrate non-insurance based procedures into your practice.