by Tim Brown
Doctors all over the country are opting out of accepting insurance and government subsidies as payment for healthcare and taking cash paying customers. It seems that Obamacare is forcing them to reevaluate how they provide the best healthcare to their patients. Not only does it cut out the middle man (government and insurance companies), but it also drastically reduces prices for patients; some by as much as half!
Consider these doctors. First, Dr. Robert Lamberst, a primary care physician in Martinez, Ga., has adopted a new system of billing patients. The new system charges a monthly flat fee instead of taking insurance, Medicare or Medicaid for office visits, according to local NBC 26.
According to Lambert’s site, the fee ranges from $30 to $60 a month depending on a patient’s age and covers all primary-care services. However, he points out that this only covers his services and that insurance may be necessary for other care.
“My fee covers only my services, not the cost of visits to specialists or many of the tests I may order,” the website states. “This means that insurance may still be needed for much of the care I may order.”
He is hopeful that the system will be an alternative and help to be a solution to skyrocketing health care costs.
Then there’s Dr. Michael Ciampi, a Maine physician who stopped accepting all forms of health insurance, both private and government sponsored. His new plan took effect April 1, 2013. His prices are posted at his site.
“It’s been almost unanimous that patients have expressed understanding at why I’m doing what I’m doing, although I’ve had many people leave the practice because they want to be covered by insurance, which is understandable,” Ciampi said.
“I’m freed up to do what I think is right for the patients,” Ciampi said. “If I’m providing them a service that they value, they can pay me, and we cut the insurance out as the middleman and cut out a lot of the expense.”
Ciampi had about 2,000 patients before the move and lost several hundred. However, he believes he will gain new patients to replace those. He’s offering discounts for those struggling with medical bills and even making house calls.
Ciampi says, “I’ve been able to cut my prices in half because my overhead will be so much less.”
“If more doctors were able to do this, that would be real health care reform,” he said. “That’s when we’d see the cost of medicine truly go down.”
Finally, consider thirty-two year old Doctor Doug Nunamaker of Witchita, Kansas, who claims to make the same income and offers better quality care to his patients after dumping the health insurance companies. Nunamaker switched to a system where he charges a simple monthly fee plus the price of an office visit or test.
For example, under Nunamaker’s membership plan — also known as “concierge” medicine or “direct primary care” practices — each patient pays a flat monthly fee to have unlimited access to the doctors and any medical service they can provide in the practice, such as stitches or an EKG.
For adults up to age 44, Nunamaker charges $50 a month, pediatric services are $10 a month, and for adults age 44 and older it costs $100 a month. Although Nunamaker calls the practice “cash-only,” he accepts credit and debit cards for the fees and services.
Nunamaker and his partner negotiated deals for services outside the office. A cholesterol test costs the patient for $3, versus the $90 or more billed to insurance companies; an MRI can cost $400, compared with $2,000 or more billed to insurance companies.
Check out the report from WHSV on Dr. Nunamaker below:
Personally, I think this is the best thing I’ve heard in a long time and it came from individuals, not government. Imagine that? A simple approach to healthcare and government didn’t have to do a thing! However, just wait and see, big government will come along and want to regulate and put its hands all over this kind of healthcare rather than let it remain just between a doctor and their patient!
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