Healthcare Reform has passed but it will be a long time before the experts figure out the many ways that physicians will be affected. Predictions are that taxes and premiums will increase, doctors will be forced to consolidate and the health care system will become two tiered. Here is our summary of the “first wave” of opinions that are coming from our contact with physicians and with key experts in the field.
What Will the Effects be on Insurance Markets?
The Shake-up has started and the word inside the insurance industry is that the major players are in high gear to reposition so that they will be the beneficiaries of the healthcare bill. With 30 million new patients coming on board, there is real opportunity for the carriers.
The large hikes in small group premiums are expected and in anticipation of the new changes; carriers are expected to make large hikes as soon as they can to establish a new baseline for the future
Carriers will consolidate as many carriers find that their health insurance lines of business are not as profitable they will drop out or consolidate.
Effects on Doctors
There will be more uncertainty. Nobody knows the extent of the impact on physicians. Healthcare is not officially a political football and will take many twists and turns over the years, leaving doctors in a difficult position to prepare for the future
Fees will decline and because the money has to come from somewhere, it will come out of doctors and hospitals.
Doctors will possess less bargaining power. As the number of carriers decline through consolidation, physicians will have less power to negotiate higher rates
There will be an increase in “red tape”. New rules will require more expensive staffing and documentation by doctors. The threat of fines from documentation infractions will push physicians to increase their practice infrastructure.
There will be consolidation into larger physician practices. Many physicians who seek to remain independent will come together into larger practices to save on overhead.
Doctors will have to join forces with Hospitals. In rural areas, many providers will be bought out by hospitals or join some sort of sharing arrangement. These are likely to be short lived since hospital profits will be under extreme pressure.
Physicians will “opt out” of the system and go all or partial cash. Many physicians have already positioned their practice for this model. New models for cash revenue are emerging daily and will be integrated into the system.
Doctors will have a difficult choice to make between staying independent or becoming an employee: As many practices falter, doctors will be tempted to “sell” their practice and become employed by clinics, hospitals, academia, the government, and other consolidation models that develop.
Effects on Patients
Longer scheduling and wait times will occur because the system will have difficulty absorbing 30 million new patients. Making it increasingly difficult will cause physicians dropping out of the “public system”.
More choice between insured services and cash services
We expect a cash healthcare system to emerge, a sort of two-tier medical system. One, where the patient has long waiting periods and lower levels of patient care and the other, where the patient pays cash to get the level of care they want.
Premiums will go up as new rules take effect. Large increases are expected to take hold in the next year as the carriers reposition themselves. The requirement to take all comers will guarantee an increase in insurance premiums.
Effects on Small Business
Premiums will go up because small business will be hit with substantial increases near term and will continue to rise as the system evolves.
Taxes will go up along with premiums because employers will have more difficulty in making profits and likely will be less generous to employees.
Benefits to employees will go down with price increases and additional mandates, employers will do the “least” they are required to do.
I sick of all these negative email-blasts. Post something positive for a change.
WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFE. THIS SUCKS. LOOK AT THE LONG TERM, HOW THIS WILL AFFECT EVERY HUMAN.
NOT IN A GOOD WAY.
Well, that just makes my day….I just thought it may be bad, but you make me sure. What the heck were “they” thinking? Vote the bums out and lets begin a repeal!
Linda Seim, DC
There is some diverse opinions here! Let me start by saying: This particular blog was a result of multiple interviews with DOCTORS. If you want to see somthing positive here… POST IT We want to hear from EVERYONE! HC Reform has passed. We are not here to fight with physicians, we are here to help our physicians’ transition and succeed in healthcare reform with a proactive approach to the vision of medicine.
Sherry L. Krueger
Sherry L. Krueger
Over the past 30 years I have seen lots of change. Some for the good and some for the not so good. I still remember OSHA rules. Oh g-d what are we going to do . This is terrible. I then took a step back and looked for the positive and I found it . Better sterilization of instruction. Better rules for infections control. Just plain all around procedure that we developed.
So what are we going to do about the health care system. Service our patients find out what services they need and want and give them to them. I have been on to always look for services that were needed and were self pay which give us control over cost and profit.
Maybe it time to ask your patients what they want after It really an honor and privilege to treat patient, because without them you really don’t have a practice. Think about this !!
David Zuckerman DPM
Self pay (Cash Patients) is trending up and I agree with Dr. Zuckerman. Smart doctors are getting in the stream os self pay patients through marketing efforts and additional uncoded services. Its important to get in the game now!
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Certified Pharmacy Technician
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