California Healthline: Number of Physicians Opting Out of Medicare Nearly Tripled

he number of physicians who have opted out of Medicare has nearly tripled since 2009, according to CMS, the Wall Street Journalreports.

According to CMS, 9,539 physicians who previously had accepted Medicare opted out of the program in 2012, compared with 3,700 who opted out in 2009. Further, a similar study by the American Academy of Family Physicians found that 81% of family physicians accepted new Medicare patients in 2012, compared with 83% who did so in 2010.

Physicians have noted several reasons for opting out of Medicare, including:

  • Low reimbursement rates;
  • Displeasure with the government’s increasing involvement in medicine; and
  • Concerns about patient privacy.

Some physicians have said that Medicare’s reimbursement rates — which can be as low as $58 for a 15-minute office visit — mean that they have to see as many as 30 or more patients per day. Jeffrey Cain, president of AAFP, said, “Family physicians have been fed up for a long time and it’s getting worse.”

Fewer Docs Accept New Medicaid Beneficiaries


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