Half of Doctors Won't Accept New Medicaid Patients

May 13, 2014

According to a new survey, doctors accept new Medicaid patients at a rate of just 45.7 percent, writes Joshua de Gastyne, a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.

Health care consulting firm Merritt-Hawkins released the results of a survey of doctors across five specialties (cardiology, dermatology, orthopedic survery, obstetrics-gynecology and family practice) in 15 metropolitan markets. The report found that the average Medicaid acceptance rate was just 45.7 percent, down from 55.4 percent in 2009.

Doctors refuse to accept Medicaid for a number of reasons:

  • Medicaid reimbursement rates can be below the cost of providing the health care service.
  • Even if the reimbursement rates are not below cost, they tend to be low compared to reimbursement offered by other payers.
  • Billing for Medicaid payment can be very complicated, so doctors choose to avoid it altogether.

Boston doctors had the highest rate of Medicaid acceptance, at 73 percent. Dallas doctors, on the other hand, accepted Medicaid at just a 23 percent rate.

Despite the problems that Medicaid patients already have accessing doctors, one of the biggest ways that Obamacare expands health care coverage is through the Medicaid program.

The average cumulative Medicare acceptance rate, on the other hand, was at 76 percent.

Source: Joshua de Gastyne, "Medicaid: Half of Doctors Won't Accept New Patients," Heritage Foundation, May 8, 2014. 

 

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