HHS: More Docs Accepting Medicare Patients Since 2005
Despite reports to the contrary, physicians are not bailing on Medicare, according to a new study from the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). More physicians are accepting new Medicare patients than commercially insured patients and that’s keeping access to care easy for most, the study concluded.
The study, “Access to Physicians’ Services for Medicare Beneficiaries,” was conducted to determine the impact on beneficiaries if the rumor that fewer physicians were accepting Medicare patients was true. It found, instead, that the percentage of physicians accepting new Medicare patients between 2005 and 2112 has actually gone up from 88 to 91 percent. The number of physicians billing Medicare has grown from less than 950,000 to more than 1 million, proving that Medicare coverage remains stable, the study said.
Two specialties—psychiatrists and plastic and reconstructive surgeons—have “opted out” more than primary physicians by 1.11 and 1.56 percent, respectively. About one third of 1 percent of primary care physicians have opted out of the federal health care system, the study determined.
Annual data collected by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) show that 77 percent of Medicare beneficiaries who were questioned report they have never experienced a delay in getting an appointment for routine care, up from 76 percent in 2008. This mirrors access to care from beneficiaries of commercial healthcare plans, the study said.