Unintended Consequences: A Loophole That Could Hurt Doctors

In some circles, I’m considered an expert on health care economics.  I’ve done quite a bit of study and even speaking on the topic.  Of course the biggest deal in public policy related to health care in the last decade is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) which was passed by Congress and signed into law in 2010.

Recently a loophole was discovered in the law that could make it difficult especially for small physcian practices where if someone doesn’t pay their insurance premiums, the insurers won’t have to pay the claims, but this could happen after the individual in question has been served by a doctor, leaving the doctor stuck holding what could be bad debt.  Here’s an article that gives more detail:

A casual survey of available health care providers — I told my wife in between patient appointments — elicited a truly impressive string of profanity. No wonder, since the Advisory Board points out, “The loophole could take a serious toll on provider collections. Physicians may be left paying for a patients’ treatment during months two and three of the grace period, causing an uptick in bad debt collections.”

(Read the rest here)

This is a difficulty with one-size fits all approaches to reform, and another reason why patient centered options like HSAs and Samaritan Ministries are better solutions than mandated insurance.  If we allow the market to smooth out the problems (yes this can get messy) we’ll come up with better and more affordable options than the ones that get created by government which are invariably politicized.

What are your thoughts as we head into next year with the Affordable Care Act taking full effect?  Join in with a comment!

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