Doctors are “fed up” with being turned into debt collectors, blares a headline on Bloomberg.
Now, instead of getting paid by insurance companies on a predictable schedule, health-care providers have to engage in an awkward dance. One moment they’re removing a pre-cancerous skin mole. The next, they’re haranguing patients to pay what’s become a growing portion of the total medical bill.
To help with the problem of individuals who have unpaid medical debts either because they don’t have insurance or because their deductibles are too high, the report spotlights doctors who are offering payment plans, providing individuals with health insurance codes before a procedure so they can get estimates from insurance companies, and hiring additional staff to cope with higher levels of unpaid bills.
The report also discusses how more doctors are giving up being an independent physician and joining medical groups or larger healthcare systems because those organizations offer additional support and security.
Doctors are being caught in the middle between patients who are unable to pay their bills and insurance companies who are unwilling to cover more than what is required of them, and larger organizations are investing in call centers and additional staff to help individuals walk through their healthcare options.
Said one doctor:
“It’s an unnecessary added cost to the health-care system to have to hire staff just to sit there on hold with insurance companies to find out what a patient’s deductible status is.”