Blog | Wednesday, September 4, 2013

QD: News Every Day--Two-thirds of doctors report accepting Medicare patients

Two-thirds of ACP Internist readers intend to continue to accept Medicare patients, while the other third are either still considering it or won’t, a survey showed.

Throughout August, ACP Internist polled its readership about their intentions, with 44% saying they’ll continue to take Medicare patients and 24% planning to take them on a limited basis. But 17% said they said they won’t take Medicare and 13% are still deciding whether to. These results contradict two other recent reports that showed much higher acceptance. (ACP Internist surveys are reader polls, not formal studies.)

In July, an article in the Wall Street Journal that said the number of physicians opting out of Medicare rose from 3,700 in 2009 to more than 9,500 in 2012. That’s a small absolute number, and in August the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services subsequently showed that office-based doctors have steadily continued to accept Medicare patients in recent years, at a rate of about nine out of 10.

According to federal survey data, the percentage of all office-based physicians who report accepting new Medicare patients has not changed significantly between 2005 and 2012, with 87.9% of physicians accepting new Medicare patients in 2005 and 90.7% in 2012, the agency reported. The number of providers opting out was offset by an increase in the share of other physicians who accept new Medicare patients.

ACP Internist continues to poll its readers, this month asking whether or not they’ll accept Medicaid patients. Cast your vote here.