The journal Health Affairs published a study this month revealing that more than 30% of doctors nationwide are not accepting new Medicaid patients. Low Medicaid reimbursement rates by states, along with administrative hassles and delays in payment, attract fewer and fewer doctors to serve the Medicaid population. In some states, Medicaid reimbursement is less than half of the reimbursement rate from Medicare and private insurers for the same service. (Thus, it is no surprise that more than 80% of doctors accept new Medicare patients.) Many states contract with private managed care companies that pay higher rates to doctors to care for their Medicaid patients; however, whether these companies have improved access to care is uncertain.
Currently on par with the national statistic, nearly 30% of Indiana doctors refuse new Medicaid patients; however, Kentucky is bucking the national trend with just over 20% of doctors failing to accept new Medicaid patients.
To entice doctors to treat Medicaid patients and meet the expected increase in demand under new federal health laws, primary care physicians who treat Medicaid patients will see an average 30% boost in pay in 2013 and 2014. Federal funding of the pay increases beyond 2014 is not guaranteed at this time. The number of Medicaid patients is expected to grow from 60 million to 76 million by 2014.
For a detailed report from Kaiser Health News, click here.