More Doctors Charging Administrative Fees To Reduce Cost Burdens
Seeking to offset the increasing costs of practicing medicine, many physicians nationwide are charging patients new service fees for expenses not covered by insurance, USA Today reports.
The extra payments include $30 to $50 charges for failing to appear at an appointment; fees for completing school, work or athletic team health forms; or annual administrative charges of $35 to $120 or more.
Although office visits are primary care physicians' main source of income, many doctors spend a majority of time each day on uncompensated activities, including phone calls and prescription refills, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In addition, primary care physicians face increased financial pressure because reimbursement rates have not increased to reflect higher care costs, according to William Jessee, president of the Medical Group Management Association.John Syer, a vice president of provider contracting at WellPoint, said the insurer has noted an increased number of physicians charging annual administrative fees. He added that such charges could violate provider agreements if physicians include items that fall within insurer payments (Young, USA Today, 6/7). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.