Growing Number of Physicians Forgo Insurance
November 11, 2003
A small but growing number of physicians have shunned health insurance reimbursement in favor of cash payments. In return for payment at the time of service, they offer patients a degree of personal attention that few doctors can match. In addition, because these physicians do not have high administrative overhead, their prices are lower than physicians who accept insurance. For example:
- A physician in Tennessee charges $35 per office visit and $20 for blood work compared to $55 and $100 or more (respectively) at nearby doctors.
- Another physician in Mississippi lowered his office visit charge from $60 to $40.
Because of the lower prices, and because these physicians don't accept insurance (or require patients to have insurance), patients who could not otherwise afford to see a doctor are attracted to them. Moreover, patients with chronic conditions can afford to schedule appoints more often and better control their conditions.
The physicians note that the waiting room is less crowded and more convenient for patients. Some patients with insurance are also attracted by the convenience and quality.
Source: Rhonda L. Rundle, "Pay-as-You-Go M.D.: The Doctor is in, But Insurance is Out," Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2003.
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