Of your medical needs
A doctor’s perspective on Obamacare plans
On a recent afternoon at his office in Hartford, Conn., Dr. Doug Gerard examines a patient complaining of joint pain. Gerard, an internist, checks her out, asks her a few questions about her symptoms and then orders a few tests before sending her on her way.
For a typical quick visit like this, Gerard could get reimbursed $100 or more from a private insurer. For the same visit, Medicare pays less — about $80. And now, with the new private plans under the Affordable Care Act, Gerard says he would get something in between, but closer to the lower Medicare rates.
That’s not something he’s willing to accept.
“I cannot accept a plan [in which] potentially commercial-type reimbursement rates were now going to be reimbursed at Medicare rates,” Gerard says. “You have to maintain a certain mix in private practice between the low reimbursers and the high reimbursers to be able to keep the lights on.”
My GP stopped taking any new Medicare/Medicaid patients a couple years back because of the “new” low reimbursement rates. The last time I was in (when I dislocated my thumb after a plate I was welding above me slipped and hit my, thankfully gloved, hand) I asked about how Obamacare was treating her, she mentioned the possibility of lowered reimbursement rates and her unwillingness to accept less than she was already getting.
I used this as an opening to ask her about the possibility of Concierge Care being an option. She said that while she wasn’t a big fan of it, she’d be open to thinking about it if she had to start dropping/turning away patients.
My yearly physical is a week from today. I think I’ll bring it up to see if she has had second thoughts. I was ushered out of the work force and into the Obamaconomy just before Obamacare took effect. I’ll be rejoining the work force in December and I am not looking forward to rejoining a job market wherein benefits such as medical/dental coverage have declined/disappeared and wages have not gone up accordingly to replace them.
The Wife and I have always arranged it so that we are double covered, which made the transition to her coverage being my primary coverage rather quick and simple. But her medical plan stinks (the dental is great though) and I want to shop for my own. If I get the opportunity for a reasonable Concierge plan, I’ll be on it like militant feminists on hypocrisy. Before they’re made illegal.