Why we created this site:
Opting out of Medicare starts with a philosophic choice. While some
physicians may find Medicare and 3rd party payers tolerable, many are
starting to seriously ask themselves if they are doomed to continue
practicing medicine in the current environment.
You should explore this site if:
- you believe in free markets,
- you feel the doctor/patient relationship has been compromised by
government and the insurance industry
- you feel that you should work for your patients and not for the insurance
companies or government
- you find government regulation and bureaucracy stifling, and consuming
what little personal time you have left in your life.
If you answered yes to any of the above, then investigating your right to
opt out of Medicare and perhaps other insurance participation is something
you should at least consider. This site provides a tool to help you in this
consideration. You may ask yourself whether participation in Medicare is
consistent with your values. You may be able to serve your patients
better-even Medicare-eligible patients-if you opt out.
Opting out of Medicare also involves an economic choice. First, you must
consider the risks you face for doing nothing: the continuing uncertainty of
the SGR formula, the ever-growing threat of predatory Medicare "fraud
police" (RAC audit) even for physicians who do their best to code correctly,
the continual push for you to receive less and less compensation, then make
up the difference by seeing more patients, the high overhead associated with
participation in government and insurance programs.
Opting out of Medicare may result in a loss of income-perhaps temporary,
possibly permanent. But, consider what current government regulations may do
to your future income, your ability to practice medicine as you see fit, and
to your personal freedoms. Doing nothing does not prevent government-created
erosion of your income and freedoms. Your practice may "recover" after
opting out, leaving you with more time to see fewer patients, and relieving
you of much of the draconian penalties and voluminous paperwork that are
drowning our profession.
It is also important to consider that the lost work and lost Medicare income
are not at all proportional. Medicare will continue to pay you less and less
while government regulations and associated administrative costs (time and
money) will continue to escalate. The loss of a Medicare patient as a
patient/customer means the loss of low compensation coupled with higher and
higher costs. When you find yourself breaking even or losing money, you
cannot "make it up in volume." Opting out of Medicare may also find you with
more time off. Many physicians would gladly trade some income for less
stress and more time for themselves and their families. Remember, "they
can't tax your time off" (yet).
So why would you continue to accept Medicare? You may think that patients
won't pay you, and that patients won't see you. It may feel like you are
only catering to wealthy patients. But, the truth is, patients from all
walks of life are discovering that insurance without access has very limited
value. The uninsured, the under-insured, and any patient looking for better
access to a real physician are often more than willing and able to pay for
these services if priced reasonably; services that are becoming a rare
commodity. And, importantly, with a direct pay model, the price is actually
a REAL price.
As I transition my traditional practice to a Cash Only practice, I will be documenting my progress and experiences. Of course any advice you can give me along the way will be welcome.
This is where you can exchange ideas, thoughts, opinions about opting out of Medicare, insurance, and Health Care in general.
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