Though there have been concerns over doctors fleeing the Medicare program, the feds have a rebuttal to those claims: Not so fast.
They say Medicare is picking up providers, and the percentage accepting new patients is holding steady.
According to a brief released by the Department of Health and Human Services, the number of providers who bill Medicare directly rose about 90,000 between 2007 and 2011, and the number of providers who charge their patients for covered procedures — the ones who “opt out” — increased by about 110,000, citing figures compiled by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The chart included in the brief shows about 1.02 million of the former, and 980,000 of the latter.
The HHS brief also says the percentage of providers accepting new Medicare patients held fairly steady between 2005 and 2012, and is comparable to the percentage of providers accepting new privately insured patients.
Most recently, about 91 percent of providers accept new Medicare beneficiaries and 86 percent accept new privately insured patients, according to a cited survey by the National Center for Health Statistics.
Another report cited in the brief, MedPAC’s March, 2013 Report to Congress, showed that, in general, about three-quarters of all patients, regardless of the type of health insurance they have, report having no problem finding a new physician who will accept their coverage, or having to wait longer than they want for an appointment.