At a time when more baby boomers are becoming eligible for Medicare than ever before, doctors may not be available to see them under this plan. It won’t matter if you have coverage if you don’t have a physician that is available to you.
On January 1, 2010, hidden cuts were made to Medicare by changing the billing codes. This occurred at a time when physicians already were receiving 20% less under Medicare than traditional insurance company reimbursements. Then Congress avowed to cut Medicare reimbursements from 21% to 27% in order to “reduce the deficit”. Even more, Congress pledged to cut Medicare by yet another $500 billion. Again, the CBO said this additional cut must take place if the Senate healthcare bill was to “reduced the deficit.”
Many physicians were operating at a loss even before this series of massive cuts. In 2008, Mayo Clinic posted an $840 million loss in caring for Medicare patients. No businesses can survive when patient care expenses exceed revenue.
Fortunately, there has always been a “doctor fix” at the eleventh hour before the onslaught of payment slashing. That is…until now! On April 1,2013, there was a 2% reduction with additional alterations in the type of coverage that seniors may receive. No one batted an eye. Whereas a bulk buy ventolin boots reduction will have everyone up in arms, by chipping away at the payment schedule a little at a time, government will accomplish their goal reductions before seniors and the public knows what happened. Like the lobster that boils to death instead of jumping out of the pot because the heat is turned on gradually, so too may the “seniors get cooked”.
For those physicians remaining in the Medicare program, they can live in increasing fear of audits by Recovery Audit Contractors who will randomly investigate the Medicare billing in the practice with hefty fines or even jail time if they don’t “like what they see”.
Fighting the allegations can take an extreme emotional toll and the cost of defense can all but bankrupt the doctor. Yet physicians are being subjected to this routinely all across the nation.
If the Mayo clinic can shut down their doors to seniors (which they did in Arizona), can the average physician be far behind?
Don’t think because you may not be a senior yet that this will not affect you…that somehow the system will sort itself out by the time that you need this. Think again! As events have unfolded, it is bound to get worse!
What are your views? Comment in the box below.