Doctors Charging Extra Patient Fees
What would you think if your doctor told you he was now charging you an annual fee to be his patient?
More and more doctors across the country are asking patients to pay a fee for services that insurance doesn’t cover. Most of us have seen charges for missed appointments, but fees are also being charged for such services as filing out school physicals, work questions and athletic forms, according to USA Today.
William Jessee, president of the Medical Group Management Association says “It’s not unlike the airlines. They’ve gone from all-inclusive to a la carte”.
It appears that the number of doctors charging these fees are in the minority, but the trend is on the rise. Jessee says primary care doctors face increased financial pressures as insurance reimbursements haven’t kept up with costs. More and more doctors are seeking to charge annual administration fees. Tony Brayer, MD, a 20-year old physician who wrote a response piece on OpposingViews.com is in favor of a flat administrative fee of about $125 a year rather than “nickel and diming patients”.
It makes sense to check with insurers before implementing these fees. John Syer, a vice president over provider contracting at WellPoint, which operates 14 BlueCross BlueShield plans, says such fees may violate provider agreements if doctors charge for items insurers consider included in their payments.
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