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Survey: Slight Increase with Physician Participation in HIEs in 2016

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Earlier this month, Medscape released its “Physician Compensation Report 2016,”, and according to Carol Peckham over at the publication’s website, the report is based on information collected from “nearly 19,200 physicians in over 26 specialties,” who “disclosed not only their compensation, but also how many hours they work per week, how many minutes they spend with each patient, the most rewarding part of their job, changes to their practice resulting from healthcare reform, and more.”

This time, we look at the percentage of physicians who are dropping insurers that pay poorly, and we check in on the percentage of physician participation in health insurance exchanges.

In 2015, 22 percent of physicians surveyed told Medscape that they would drop insurers that paid poorly. In 2016, that percentage has dropped to 7 percent. However, the percentage of physicians who refuse to drop any payers, because they need them all, has fallen from 19 percent in 2015 to 13 percent in 2016.

Those physicians who feel it’s inappropriate to drop insurers that pay poorly actually increased from 16 percent in 2015 to 20 percent in 2016.

“Note that in 2016, 60 percent of physicians vs. 42 percent in 2015 chose ‘not applicable,’” Peckham observes. This is “…probably an indication of the growing number of employed physicians, who do not make the decision regarding insurers.”

The Medscape report also uncovered some surprises about physician participation in health insurance exchanges.

“As of February 2016, 12.7 million Americans selected plans through the Health Insurance Marketplace, about 4 percent of the US population,” Peckham reports. “Current data are limited on the number of physicians who are participating. Often they have no choice, and many may be locked out of networks.”

Regardless, 16 percent of physicians said they would be participating in the exchanges in the past; that number has increased slightly to 19 percent in 2016. Eight-four percent said they would not be participating in the exchanges in the past; that number has dropped to 29 percent.

Over half or 52 percent are uncertain about their participation in the HIEs.

In our next post, we’ll look at what Medscape uncovered when the surveyors asked: “How has your income been affected by the health insurance exchanges?”

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