We’ve discussed in depth how healthcare reform will affect the everyday American patient, but we haven’t given much thought to how it will affect our healthcare practitioners. However, as more doctors switch over to a “cash only” system, it’s becoming abundantly clear what they think of the Affordable Care Act – and of insurance in general. It’s also becoming clear that a small but growing number don’t want any part of the healthcare machine.
The ACA was just the final straw for some physicians – the catalyst that had them throwing up their hands and saying “no more!” But even before the ACA was proposed four years ago, many doctors were already fed up with all the red tape and hassle that came with dealing with insurance companies. With a traditional health insurance system, a large staff was required to help navigate all the paperwork, which consequently resulted in a high overhead. To cover the high costs of maintaining their office, doctors were forced to take on more patients, even if doing so resulted in lower-quality care and longer wait times. On top of high overhead and the mountains of paperwork that physicians and their staff had to sift through in order to get their patients the care they needed, insurance companies were beginning to pay less for procedures. It got to be a vicious cycle, and many healthcare practitioners were just fed up with it.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, about 4% of respondents to a 2012 survey reported switching to the cash only system, up from 3% in 2010. However, a Medscape Survey done this past year reported that now, 6% of physicians are using the cash-only system, and that many more are thinking about switching over. What does cash-only mean for the general public? Will it be a system that caters to the wealthy, as many individuals believe, or will it actually help to reduce the costs of healthcare, and increase the quality of said healthcare? Find out what the experts say at http://money.cnn.com/2013/06/11/news/economy/cash-only-doctors/index.html.
Wiley Long is President of HSA for America, and a passionate advocate for consumer-based solutions that will improve price transparency and lower health insurance and medical costs for people purchasing individual and family health insurance plans.