Doctors take the road less travelled: Stop accepting insurance

Dr. Michael Ciampi, Portland, ME: South Portland doctor stops accepting insurance, posts prices online — Portland — Bangor Daily News — BDN Maine.

Dr. Michael Ciampi took a step this spring that many of his fellow physicians would describe as radical.

The family physician stopped accepting all forms of health insurance. In early 2013, Ciampi sent a letter to his patients informing them that he would no longer accept any kind of health coverage, both private and government-sponsored. Given that he was now asking patients to pay for his services out of pocket, he posted his prices on the practice’s website.

The change took effect April 1.


Dr. Ryan Neuhofel, Lawrence, KS:  The Obamacare Revolt: Physicians Fight Back Against the Bureaucratization of Health Care

Dr. Ryan Neuhofel, 31, offers a rare glimpse at what it would be like to go to the doctor without massive government interference in health care. Dr. Neuhofel, based in the college town of Lawrence, Kansas, charges for his services according to an online price list that’s as straightforward as a restaurant menu. A drained abscess runs $30, a pap smear, $40, a 30-minute house call, $100. Strep cultures, glucose tolerance tests, and pregnancy tests are on the house. Neuhofel doesn’t accept insurance. He even barters on occasion with cash-strapped locals. One patient pays with fresh eggs and another with homemade cheese and goat’s milk.


and we also have Dr. Lisa Davidson in Denver, CO:

Dr. Lisa Davidson had 8 years of frustration while running a successful traditional practice in Denver, Colorado. She had 6,000 patients when she decided to stop taking insurance and adopt the same business model as Neuhofel. Her patient list has dropped to about 2,000. She used to spend about 15 minutes with each patient and now it’s more like 45 minutes. “We’re on track to make more money and take better care of our patients,” says Davidson. “It’s a win-win all around.”

Here is the driving issue:

Under Obamacare, more and more doctors are becoming employees of large hospitals, where there will be more control over how they practice medicine. Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Dr. Scott Atlas fears this will cause a brain drain in medicine. “Really smart people want autonomy, and when you take that away it’s naive to think you’re going to get really bright people becoming doctors,” says Atlas. “The best doctors could excel at any profession, so why go into medicine if they won’t have the opportunity to be their best?”

and talk about cost savings…

When she was operating a traditional practice, Davidson witnessed firsthand how our “payment plans for routine expenses” drive up prices and block innovation. She recalls that one insurance company paid $118 for a routine PSA test. Now that her patients pay the bill directly the cost is $18. Insurance used to pay $128 for a bag of IV fluid. Now Davidson doesn’t bother passing on the cost of IV bags because they run $1.50 each.

I sell health insurance, so why would I be for doctors not taking insurance? Having insurance to cover day to day expenses makes no sense. That is not insurance, it is prepayment. What Obamacare does is play Robin Hood with premiums (i.e. subsidies) to tax one group so the other can afford it. That’s not insurance either. Thankfully, at least some doctors are revolting against the insurance & obamacare bureaucracies and cutting costs at the same time. Now THAT is Patient Protection and Affordable Care. Unfortunately the name has already been taken.

I am for insurance to cover major unexpected expenses. That’s what it’s for.



2 thoughts on “Doctors take the road less travelled: Stop accepting insurance

  1. Leaving the system shouldn’t be considered a radical step. Within the “system” the insurance company is the customer because they are the ones paying. Doctors in that system have to satisfy the insurance company. The “radical” considers the patient the customer and will be forced to redesign their system to make the patient happy. I think it’s the start of something very good.

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