When doctors rely on the government to get paid

For those who back Medicare for all, consider this.

From the WSJ Health Blog, here’s a story saying that doctors would go bankrupt if 20 to 25 percent of their patients were Medicaid. Not only are payments low, it may take months to get paid. States with quicker payments had a higher proportion of doctors accepting Medicaid.

Speaking of delayed payments, Medicare is no better. Doctors in California, Nevada and Hawaii are dealing with late payments, some as long as 9 months for payments as high as $750,000.

This leads to a vicious cycle, leading physicians to turn away new Medicare beneficiaries. Oncologists are taking out loans, and some cardiologists are “doing the office laundry to save money.”

And these are the people some want to control all of American health care?

topics: medicare, medicaid

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  • RJS

    We experienced this in our homecare business with the VA. Payments would come 3-4 months after they were invoiced. As a small business, it is impossible to continue making payroll and meeting expenses when one of your payors is perpetually delinquent. Couple this with the care recipient needing more care than we were allowed to bill for, and we’re suddenly paying caregivers an extra 30-60 minutes per day more than we’re allowed to invoice for. Telling them to simply leave is just impossible.

    We finally dropped this particular case. I could not imagine how tough it would have been if we’d had more than one. $2K/month unpaid month over month plus a helping of accidental pro bono quickly becomes untenable in a low margin business like home health.

    We made a decision to decline people who are with the VA, Medicare, and Medicaid from now on simply because we would go out of business if they became a significant source of our income.

    Unfortunate, but necessary.

  • The Happy Hospitalist

    When I go to Walmart, Walmart makes me pay cash for my synthroid. They submit the claim to insurance and the insurance company sends me a check if my deductible has been met.

    Why can’t physicians operate under the same rules?

    Because the insurance companies would lose their interest free float between the time of service and the payment of the claim. It is one giant scam on the American people. THe longer they delay payment, the more interest they can collect on their premiums.

  • Anonymous

    It never ceases to amzae me. We have 30 days to submit a complain or face denial. They can pay us 90-120 days plus.

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