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Medicaid Visits Often for Urgent & Serious Symptoms

National study results suggest that the majority of ED visits made by non-elderly Medicaid patients are for urgent or more serious medical issues, a finding that is contrary to the popular belief that such visits in this population are usually for routine care. In a study, nonurgent symptoms accounted for just 10% of visits made by non-elderly Medicaid patients, compared with 7% of visits made by privately insured nonelderly patients. Abstract: HSC Research Brief No. 23, July...

Many Docs Not Accepting New Medicaid Patients

Although 96% of office-based physicians accepted new patients in 2011, a study has found that 31% would not accept new Medicaid patients. The investigation also revealed that 17% would not accept new Medicare patients and 18% would not accept new privately insured patients. Those in smaller practices and those in metropolitan areas were less likely to accept new Medicaid patients than others. Abstract: Health Affairs, August...
Rejection of Medicare & Private Coverage "Overstated"

Rejection of Medicare & Private Coverage "Overstated"

Several recent news articles from the media have discussed a drop in the number of physicians who accept patients with Medicare. However, recent trends in acceptance of various insurance types have not been examined, according to an analysis published in the June 27, 2011 Archives of Internal Medicine. Using data from a national survey, three doctors examined trends in physician acceptance of several insurance types, as well as self-pay patients. Their hope was that understanding “these trends can help informpolicymakers of potential access problems, particularly giventhe shortages in primary care, an aging population, growingprevalence of chronic disease, and insurance expansion underthe Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” Looking at data from 2005 to 2008, researchers found only a 2.6% reduction in the number of physicians who accepted patients with Medicare. The decline in acceptance was seen mostly among physicians in private practice. By contrast, physician acceptance of patients with private, non-capitated insurance had a more pronounced decline, dipping from 93.3% in 2005 to 87.8% in 2008. Acceptance of self-paying patients did not change significantly over the study period. Acceptance among both the above groups was still higher than that for patients with Medicaid and private, capitated capped insurance; a decline was seen over the study period among both latter groups. Based on their finding that more than 90% of physicians still accept Medicare patients despite marginal increases in reimbursement, the research team suggested that “anecdotal reports may be overstating access problems.” They noted that the decline in acceptance of private, non-capitated insurance was unexpected and suggested that it may be related to reimbursement and administrative burden. Lower reimbursement may...
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