How do you find out what value people place on a primary care physician visit? You could try asking them, as a small group of Missouri physicians recently did.
….On the day of the events, no insurance was accepted. Care was provided only to the uninsured, who were asked to pay what they could afford. Laboratory tests were provided at cost, and patients who needed additional services were referred to various public resources….most valued it enough to pay something…
….None of the participating physicians collected enough money to make the concept financially viable over the long term, mainly because payments didn’t match a typical day’s collections from insurance and co-pays. Yet most say they want to do it again and enjoyed having one day free from insurance paperwork.
“I couldn’t afford to do it every day and feed my family, but I will probably try and do it once a year,” said [one Maine physician]…
Frankly we’re not convinced the pay what you can docs really looked carefully enough at how close what they made was to their net from treatment of insured patients. Did they, for example, discount for the costs they avoided for
a) collecting patient payment data
b) reviewing, confirming, and transmitting that data for payment
c) reconciling payments on receipt with submitted charges, etc?
Anyway, the Wall Street Journal Health Blog picked the story up (5/24; paid subscription required)Tweet