NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Doctors Are Skeptical and Confused About ObamaCare

July 31, 2013

Doctors are skeptical about the Affordable Care Act, and clueless, too. A new survey shows that an overwhelming percentage of physicians don't believe that their states' new health insurance exchanges will meet the Oct. 1 deadline to begin enrolling the uninsured, says CNBC.

  • Just 11 percent of doctors believe those exchanges will be open for business that day.
  • But those doctors, by a wide margin, also said they are "not at all familiar" with how a number of important aspects of those exchanges and plans offered on them will work -- aspects that will directly affect their bottom lines.
  • More than 65 percent of them gave that answer to all but one of the questions asking their familiarity with plan benefits levels, contracted rates with insurers, patient coverage terms and the claims process.
  • Those doctors, on average, believe they will see a 13.4 percent increase in the number of patients coming to their practices after the state health exchanges go into effect.

Those exchanges, a pillar of President Barack Obama's health care reform law, are being set up to enroll uninsured people, many of whom will receive government subsidies to purchase insurance from companies that choose to sell plans through the marketplaces.

  • But more than 55 percent of the doctors don't expect the exchanges to begin enrollment as scheduled this fall, and 34 percent don't know if the enrollment will begin on time, which is a degree of skepticism that tracks overall cool or negative public opinion about ObamaCare.
  • A huge number of doctors (89 percent) said they believed that consumers had not been adequately educated about how the exchanges' policies will function, and more than 9 percent didn't know if there had been adequate education of consumers.
  • Just 1.6 percent believed consumers had been adequately educated about the exchanges' policies.
  • More than 56 percent of doctors said they were "not at all familiar" with how insurance policies purchased on the exchanges will affect their business, and another 21 percent were only "slightly familiar."
  • An even a greater number of doctors, 70.5 percent, don't have any idea on how the claims process will work.
  • And nearly 66 percent were completely unfamiliar with what the contracted rates with payers in the exchanges will be.

Source: Dan Mangan, "Doctors Are Skeptical and Confused About ObamaCare, Survey Finds," CNBC, July 22, 2013.


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