SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Dr. Michael Ciampi took a step this spring that many of his fellow physicians would describe as radical. The family physician stopped accepting all forms of health insurance. In early 2013, Ciampi sent a letter to his patients informing them that he would no longer accept any kind of health coverage, both private and government-sponsored. Given that he was now asking patients to pay for his services out of pocket, he posted his prices on the practice’s website…
Fascinating (but not very surprising) financial maneuver by this doc.
As I (and many other blogging docs) have warned before, the amusingly-named Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is at best a bandaid on the US Health Insurance industry (and does not come close to addressing the bigger issues — such as reforming tort law for malpractice lawsuits, creating truly-useful EMR systems, reducing the insta-debt which saddles every doctor graduating from med school, and increasing the number of residency positions for primary care training — which need to be fixed in order to actually provide AFFORDABLE healthcare for “everybody”).
And as many have already warned, if everyone in the US gets government-mandated healthcare insurance, and that insurance’s reimbursement rates don’t actually cover the costs for the doctor’s office to stay in business, then the doctors will have to either close up shop, or not accept patients with that insurance… so, yay, everyone has health insurance and nowhere to use it. whee.
As this article points out, Dr. Ciampi’s shrewd (but gutsy) move is saving him the cost of paying staff to do all the insurance paperwork, and it frees him up to practice medicine the way he was educated, instead of the way the insurance companies think is “indicated”… WHAT A NOVEL CONCEPT.
(Thanks to Cranquistador alex-byun for the link to this article!)