There are approximately 48 million American seniors on Medicare today. An estimated 600,000 physicians care for those millions of patients. Though Medicare recipients will see little to no change in their actual plans themselves, the Affordable Care Act will change how their doctors practice—and this one change may be what hurts Medicare beneficiaries the most.
The next 10 years promise to bring $716 billion in cuts to the Medicare program. $415 billion will come from slashing Medicare’s reimbursement rates to hospitals, doctors and nursing homes. This significant cutback of fees is driving many doctors to stop accepting new Medicare patients. As more doctors stop accepting new patients—and as more Americans grow older—it will only get harder for seniors to receive the care they need.
While Medicare problems have been brewing long before the ACA came along, Obamacare has done nothing to improve the situation. Initially, Obamacare promised to increase Medicare reimbursement rates. But it has become increasingly apparent that we simply did not have that kind of money; instead the promises went in the opposite direction, promising to cut the program’s spending—specifically the reimbursement rates.
Now, just as happened with Medicaid, doctors are opting out of Medicare altogether—not because they want more money, but because they simply cannot keep treating patients for little or no profit and keep their practice alive and well.
Here at MediGap Advisors, we make it our mission to make sense out of all things health care-related for you—and that includes doctor shortages. We understand how frustrated you will be if you find that there isn’t a doctor in your area that accepts Medicare, and how angry you will be if you have to pay high out-of-pocket costs to receive medical attention of any kind.
We don’t want you to suffer because government decisions are forcing health care providers across the nation to decide Medicare patients shouldn’t be included in their practice. Visit our Medicare Advantage plans page to see how we can make the whole health care process easier for you.
Wiley Long is founder and president of Medigap Advisors, and is passionate about helping people navigate the confusing waters of Medicare. He is the author of The Medicare Playbook: Designing Your Successful Health Coverage Strategy, a clear and simple explanation so you can make the most of your Medicare coverage. For more information visit www.MediGapAdvisors.com.