Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So, Who Pays Best: Medicare, Private Insurance?

So much for the notion that high-level professionals trust business, but not the government, to pay its bills. A new study from the Archives of Internal Medicine reports that the number of physicians in the U.S. willing to treat Medicare patients dropped from 96 percent in 2005 to 93 percent in 2008, while the physicians accepted private insurance patients at a rate of 93 percent in 2005 and 88 percent in 2008.

That's a five percent drop for private business and a three percent decrease for the government program. There was no change in those who accepted cash on the barrel head from the patient.

Other findings: 57 percent of Americans younger than 65 were covered by employer insurance policies in 2009 and 20 percent were covered by Medicaid or some other public plan.

The study's lead author, Tara Bishop, says that Medicare doesn't always pay as much as physicians want, but it almost always pays. Conversely, private insurance companies can be a red tape nightmare. Tell us about it, Tara.

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