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Docs Now Want Deductibles To Be Paid Up-Front

From an unfazed Bloomberg:

Patients Pay Before Seeing Doctor as Deductibles Spread

By Stephanie Armour | October 14, 2013

When Barbara Retkowski went to a Cape Coral, Florida, health clinic in August to treat a blood condition, she figured the center would bill her insurance company. Instead, it demanded payment upfront.

Earlier in the year, another clinic insisted she pay her entire remaining insurance deductible for the year — more than $1,000 — before the doctor would even see her. “I was surprised and frustrated,” Retkowski, a 59-year-old retiree, said in an interview. “I had to pull money out of my savings.”

The practice of upfront payment for non-emergency care has been spreading in the U.S. as deductibles rise. Now, the advent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is likely to accelerate that trend.

And yet nobody ever mentioned this inevitable consequence of Obama-Care. Why is that?

Many of the plans offered through the law’s insurance exchanges have low initial premiums to attract customers, while carrying significant deductibles and other out-of-pocket cost sharing. The second-lowest tier of Obamacare plans in California, for example, carries a $2,000 annual deductible.

Hospitals say they need to charge patients prior to treatment because Americans are increasingly on the hook for more of their own medical costs. And once care is provided, it’s often difficult for hospitals to collect…

And unless it’s an emergency situation, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, a nonprofit hospital system based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, requires patients with insurance to pay their deductible, copay and co-insurance at the time of service, and the uninsured pay in full…

Consumer advocacy groups say the upfront payments limit access to medical care.

“It puts the employee or patient at risk of not getting the service because the deductible may be a barrier to care,” said Mark Rukavina, executive director of the Access Project, a Boston-based nonprofit that focuses on health-care access…

That’s not possible. Obama said Obama-Care would increase access to medical care.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, October 15th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “Docs Now Want Deductibles To Be Paid Up-Front”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    “You can keep your doctor. You can keep your insurance, and your health insurance will cost less.”

    Holy Sh*t, my Deductible is what?

    $12,000 annually for a family of four, sir.”
    “Sorry about your accident, Junior, but you’re going to die.”

  2. yadayada says:

    I’ve always had to pay my deductible &/or copay at the time of my Dr. appointments.
    do you mean that because I think I need to work for a living and pay my own way, I’ve been getting screwed for the last 20yrs? I’m going to start taking huge doses of melanin tablets and re-file my ethnicity claims.

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