Why we created this site:
Opting out of Medicare starts with a philosophic choice. While some physicians may find Medicare and 3rd party payers tolerable, many are starting to seriously ask themselves if they are doomed to continue practicing medicine in the current environment.
You should explore this site if:
- you believe in free markets,
- you feel the doctor/patient relationship has been compromised by government and the insurance industry
- you feel that you should work for your patients and not for the insurance
what little personal time you have left in your life.
If you answered yes to any of the above, then investigating your right to opt out of Medicare and perhaps other insurance participation is something you should at least consider. This site provides a tool to help you in this consideration. You may ask yourself whether participation in Medicare is consistent with your values. You may be able to serve your patients better-even Medicare-eligible patients-if you opt out.
Opting out of Medicare also involves an economic choice. First, you must consider the risks you face for doing nothing: the continuing uncertainty of the SGR formula, the ever-growing threat of predatory Medicare "fraud police" (RAC audit) even for physicians who do their best to code correctly, the continual push for you to receive less and less compensation, then make up the difference by seeing more patients, the high overhead associated with participation in government and insurance programs.
Opting out of Medicare may result in a loss of income-perhaps temporary, possibly permanent. But, consider what current government regulations may do to your future income, your ability to practice medicine as you see fit, and to your personal freedoms. Doing nothing does not prevent government-created erosion of your income
and freedoms. Your practice may "recover" after opting out, leaving you with more time to see fewer patients, and relieving you of much of the draconian penalties and voluminous paperwork that are drowning our profession.
It is also important to consider that the lost work and lost Medicare income are not at all proportional. Medicare will continue to pay you less and less while government regulations and associated administrative costs (time and money) will continue to escalate. The loss of a Medicare patient as a patient/customer means the loss of low compensation coupled with higher and higher costs. When you find yourself breaking even or losing money, you cannot "make it up in volume." Opting out of Medicare may also find you with more time off. Many physicians would gladly trade some income for less stress and more time for themselves and their families. Remember, "they can't tax your time off" (yet).
So why would you continue to accept Medicare? You may think that patients won't pay you, and that patients won't see you. It may feel like you are only catering to wealthy patients. But, the truth is, patients from all walks of life are discovering that insurance without access has very limited value. The uninsured, the under-insured, and any patient looking for better access to a real physician are often more than willing and able to pay for these services if priced reasonably; services that are becoming a rare commodity. And, importantly, with a direct pay model, the price is actually a REAL price.
As I transition my traditional practice to a Cash Only practice, I will be documenting my progress and experiences. Of course any advice you can give me along the way will be welcome.
This is where you can exchange ideas, thoughts, opinions about opting out of Medicare, insurance, and Health Care in general.