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More Doctors Are Moving To ‘Cash-Only’ System

From CNN’s Money.com:

Cash-only doctors abandon the insurance system

By Steve Hargreaves | June 11, 2013

NEW YORK - Fed up with declining payments and rising red tape, a small but growing number of doctors is opting out of the insurance system completely. They’re expecting patients to pony up with cash.

Some doctors who have gone that route love it, saying they can spend more time with and provide higher-quality care to their patients. Health advocates are skeptical, worrying that only the wealthy will benefit from this system.

Man alive, those wealthy people are evil. They never miss a chance to hurt the little guy.

In Wichita, Kan., 32-year old family physician Doug Nunamaker switched to a cash-only basis in 2010 after taking insurance for five years. ("Cash-only" is a loose description. Nunamaker accepts payment by debit or credit card too.)

Luckily, the government’s monitoring of credit card transactions and financial records will be able to prevent these criminal doctors from short-changing Obama-Care.

Under the traditional health insurance system, a large staff was required just to navigate all the paperwork, he said. That resulted in high overhead, forcing doctors like Nunamaker to take on more patients to cover costs.

Don’t worry. We’ve been told that one of the many benefits of Obama-Care, is that it will cut down on all of the paperwork. (Right before it lowers premiums.)

Plus, the amount insurance companies were willing to pay for procedures was declining, leading to a vicious cycle.

"The paperwork, the hassles, it just got to be overwhelming," Nunamaker said. "We knew that we had to find a better way to practice."

So Nunamaker and his partner set up a membership-based practice called Atlas M.D. — a nod to free-market champion Ayn Rand’s book Atlas Shrugged. Under the membership plan — also known as "concierge" medicine — each patient pays a flat monthly fee to have unlimited access to the doctors and any service they can provide in the office, such as EKGs or stitches.

Ayn Rand? These doctors would appear to be dangerous extremists.

The fee varies depending on age. For kids, it’s $10 a month. For adults up to age 44, it’s $50 a month. Senior citizens pay $100.

Where do we sign up? It seems to us that anyone, no matter how ‘poor,’ can afford this kind of healthcare.

The office has negotiated deals for services outside the office. By cutting out the middleman, Nunamaker said he can get a cholesterol test done for $3, versus the $90 the lab company he works with once billed to insurance carriers. An MRI can be had for $400, compared to a typical billed rate of $2,000 or more.

Nunamaker encourages his patients to carry some type of high-deductible health insurance plan in case of an emergency or serious illness. But for the everyday stuff, he said his plan works better for both doctor and patient.

His name just went on a government ‘watch list.’

Most of his clients are self-employed, small business owners, or employed at small firms that have found the monthly fee, combined with a high-deductible plan, a cheaper option than traditional insurance.

Nunamaker now has a patient list totaling 400 to 600, compared to the 2,500 to 4,000 he said a typical family physician usually maintains. He’s quite happy with his annual salary of around $200,000…

Why should he be allowed to make even that much money? Where is the justice?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Wednesday, June 12th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “More Doctors Are Moving To ‘Cash-Only’ System”

  1. bousquem25

    Wait for the feds to start punishing him for making too much money and not taking insurances, especially state insurance plans. And watch O-care basically make the high-deductible plans unavailable. The plans people will pay through the nose for will have a $5000 or more deductible or some other amount along with sky-high premiums so that you can have a plan that covers a whole range of services 95% of people won’t use or want but are mandated under O-care. The only exception will be the “poor” who are going to be subsidized insurances to make their premiums basically free if they aren’t already shifted to medicaid. Of course basically no specialists and number of primary care docs in my area will take new medicaid patients as the state pays crap for reimbursement.

  2. mr_bill

    All the years I was self-employed, I did basically the same thing just without the doctor. I carried a catastrophic policy and put a certain amount of cash into a money market account every month. That way, I could pay out of pocket for the occasional doctor office visit (and use the cash payment to negotiate a better deal) while I had a policy to cover me in case something terrible happened. At the end of the year, any money in the money market account went into my IRA as my annual contribution. It was my own self-administered HSA and I didn’t need a 2000 page law to accomplish it.

  3. Do we, the citizens ofAmerica, get to make this choice? Or, do we get strong armed and held up at gunpoint by the IRS?


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