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South Portland (ME) doctor stops accepting insurance, posts prices online
Bangor Dailty News ^ | 5/28/2013 | Jackie Farwell

Posted on 05/28/2013 8:39:21 AM PDT by llevrok

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Dr. Michael Ciampi took a step this spring that many of his fellow physicians would describe as radical.

The family physician stopped accepting all forms of health insurance. In early 2013, Ciampi sent a letter to his patients informing them that he would no longer accept any kind of health coverage, both private and government-sponsored. Given that he was now asking patients to pay for his services out of pocket, he posted his prices on the practice’s website.

The change took effect April 1.

“It’s been almost unanimous that patients have expressed understanding at why I’m doing what I’m doing, although I’ve had many people leave the practice because they want to be covered by insurance, which is understandable,” Ciampi said.

Before the switch, Ciampi had about 2,000 patients. He lost several hundred, he said. Some patients with health coverage, faced with having to seek reimbursement themselves rather than through his office, bristled at the paperwork burden.

But the decision to do away with insurance allows Ciampi to practice medicine the way he sees fit, he said. Insurance companies no longer dictate how much he charges. He can offer discounts to patients struggling with their medical bills. He can make house calls.

“I’m freed up to do what I think is right for the patients,” Ciampi said. “If I’m providing them a service that they value, they can pay me, and we cut the insurance out as the middleman and cut out a lot of the expense.”

Ciampi expects more doctors will follow suit. Some may choose to run “concierge practices” in which patients pay to keep a doctor on retainer, he said.

Gordon Smith, a spokesman for the Maine Medical Association, wasn’t so sure, saying most patients either want to use the insurance they pay for or need to rely on Medicare and Medicaid.

Even with the loss of some patients, Ciampi expects his practice to perform just as well financially, if not better, than before he ditched insurance. The new approach will likely attract new patients who are self-employed, lack insurance or have high-deductible plans, he said, because Ciampi has slashed his prices.

“I’ve been able to cut my prices in half because my overhead will be so much less,” he said.

Before, Ciampi charged $160 for an office visit with an existing patient facing one or more complicated health problems. Now, he charges $75.

Patients with an earache or strep throat can spend $300 at their local hospital emergency room, or promptly get an appointment at his office and pay $50, he said.

Ciampi collects payment at the end of the visit, freeing him of the time and costs associated with sending bills, he said.

That time is crucial to Ciampi. When his patients come to his office, they see him, not a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner, he said.

“If more doctors were able to do this, that would be real health care reform,” he said. “That’s when we’d see the cost of medicine truly go down.”


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events; US: Maine
KEYWORDS: insurance; insurence; obamacare
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How long until the IRS orders an audit?
1 posted on 05/28/2013 8:39:21 AM PDT by llevrok
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To: llevrok
Hooray.

The only way to get rid of a government monopoly is to decline participation.

If enough doctors do so, Ubamacare will die.

2 posted on 05/28/2013 8:41:37 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (It is the deviants who are the bullies.)
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To: llevrok

I am hoping to find such a medical professional in my area. I will gladly pay those prices out of pocket, to stay out of the insurance racket.


3 posted on 05/28/2013 8:42:40 AM PDT by Truth2012
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To: llevrok

Ironically, ObamaCare may, in fact, lower the cost of healthcare by making it a cash/barter market.


4 posted on 05/28/2013 8:45:14 AM PDT by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

My dad practiced medicine this way during the 50’s and 60’s. It was common way of doing so.

Then came the Great Society........


5 posted on 05/28/2013 8:45:17 AM PDT by llevrok (I am the "Face Of The Wild, Nasty Hard-Right Fringe")
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To: llevrok
Boy, I hope this spreads.

I want catastrophic insurance in case I get brain cancer. For everything else, I'd pay out of pocket quite happily.

6 posted on 05/28/2013 8:45:23 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy
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To: llevrok
I'd go for that, as I don't have insurance anyway.

My wife needed a wrist operation a few years ago. The $5,500 bill was stripped down to $3,500, simply because we didn't have insurance.

Was it because he felt sorry for us, or because he didn't have to do so much paperwork, or because we paid him half on the spot and half in two weeks?

I don't know, maybe some of each, but we all got what we needed.

7 posted on 05/28/2013 8:45:39 AM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: llevrok
How long until the IRS orders an audit?

They are going to come after this guy, time to make an example. Can't have anyone talking back or not marching in lockstep.

Get rid of 3rd party payers and medical services prices will drop like rocks. Not that the dimwit 80% of the population can understand why that would happen.

8 posted on 05/28/2013 8:46:23 AM PDT by ChildOfThe60s (If you can remember the 60s.....you weren't really there)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

Leftists

FREAK OUT

when people act rationally and devise methods to avoid their control.


9 posted on 05/28/2013 8:46:27 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: E. Pluribus Unum

This happened in England and they made it illegal for doctors to not accept insurance because the private care was “superior” and not “fair” for rich people to buy good doctors.

I think this has been un-done (to some degree), but there is still kvetching about it.

I used to own convenience stores and refused to accept food stamps, but was forced to by the state I was in because I accepted credit cards. I sold just to not deal with that crap.


10 posted on 05/28/2013 8:47:11 AM PDT by Jewbacca (The residents of Iroquois territory may not determine whether Jews may live in Jerusalem.)
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To: llevrok

His school loans must be paid off.


11 posted on 05/28/2013 8:47:41 AM PDT by stuartcr ("I have habits that are older than the people telling me they're bad for me.")
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To: Izzy Dunne

I got a 25% discount for paying cash on a physical.

And I got frequent flier miles for using my United card.

Such a deal!


12 posted on 05/28/2013 8:47:41 AM PDT by llevrok (I am the "Face Of The Wild, Nasty Hard-Right Fringe")
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To: Izzy Dunne

Do you think he would have taken $25/month?


13 posted on 05/28/2013 8:49:01 AM PDT by stuartcr ("I have habits that are older than the people telling me they're bad for me.")
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To: llevrok

This is why the national health care law in Canada made it illegal for doctors to accept cash fees for service. Until their Supreme Court caught up with that, about forty years too late for most people.


14 posted on 05/28/2013 8:49:16 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: llevrok

How can this be and in liberal ME too? LBJ predicted that the biggest supporters of Medicare would become the doctors, more so than the hapless patients.


15 posted on 05/28/2013 8:50:31 AM PDT by Theodore R. ("Hey, the American people must all be crazy out there!")
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To: llevrok

Recently had a kid to the ER and they offered me a 50% discount on the copay if I paid cash on the spot. Which makes perfect sense because they save tons of postage and hours of labor chasing you around to try and collect that later.


16 posted on 05/28/2013 8:50:40 AM PDT by Buckeye McFrog
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To: llevrok

Bless him. I bet his business booms, even if clients have to fill out the insurance paperwork.


17 posted on 05/28/2013 8:51:14 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: llevrok

Yes, but, even if you go this way don’t you still have to pay the penalty...I mean “tax” for not having an ObamaCare approved plan?


18 posted on 05/28/2013 8:51:41 AM PDT by Axelsrd
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To: ChildOfThe60s

“Dimwit 80 percent” may even be a generous mathematical calculation.


19 posted on 05/28/2013 8:51:58 AM PDT by Theodore R. ("Hey, the American people must all be crazy out there!")
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To: llevrok

Eventually, we are going to wind up like the rest of the developed world in regard to health care (double standard).

A “free” health care system that is very expensive, long waits, poor service and rationing of services.

And a small private system that is exactly opposite of the public option.

I have seen this in more than a dozen countries.


20 posted on 05/28/2013 8:52:02 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - they want to die for islam and we want to kill them)
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To: llevrok

People in WV were the biggest supporters of the “Great Society”. Is that still so? They keep the Democrats in Congress but balk at the presidential election now in WV.


21 posted on 05/28/2013 8:53:48 AM PDT by Theodore R. ("Hey, the American people must all be crazy out there!")
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To: llevrok

I know a dermatologist who only accepts cash. Place is booked and lead times are quite long.


22 posted on 05/28/2013 8:55:44 AM PDT by gotribe (Limit The Government's Right To Bear Arms)
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To: fwdude
Ironically, ObamaCare may, in fact, lower the cost of healthcare by making it a cash/barter market.

Reminds me of a story told by a an immigrant from the old Soviet Union. On paper, at least, the Soviet Union guaranteed free healthcare to everyone. The way it was suppose to work is you just walked into the local clinic and were treated, no questions asked and no payment required or accepted. A model of the Communist system... However, the way it REALLY worked was that if you didn't slip the doctor some healthy "payola" under the table, the only treatment you would be given was the obligatory aspirin, declared well, and sent home, regardless of what ailed you...

23 posted on 05/28/2013 8:56:26 AM PDT by apillar
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To: llevrok

is that legal in this fascist nation?


24 posted on 05/28/2013 8:57:41 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: llevrok

“How long until the IRS orders an audit? “

My guess is, that under obamacare, any hospital or admitting priveleges will be rescinded. And the government will get away with it because it will threaten hospitals who accept any government payments with fines, etc if they continue to keep such physicians on staff.


25 posted on 05/28/2013 8:57:52 AM PDT by freeangel ( (free speech is only good until someone else doesn't like it)
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To: llevrok

Soon there will be heavily armed jack booted armored clad thugs, breaking down his office doors just before opening, they will confiscate everything, without a warrant of course.


26 posted on 05/28/2013 9:01:20 AM PDT by PoloSec ( Believe the Gospel: how that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again)
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To: stuartcr
Do you think he would have taken $25/month?

Don't know; didn't ask.

I doubt it, though. It would have taken 220 months to pay that off.

27 posted on 05/28/2013 9:01:24 AM PDT by Izzy Dunne (Hello, I'm a TAGLINE virus. Please help me spread by copying me into YOUR tag line.)
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To: Izzy Dunne

The government has the doctors by the balls. Eventually, doctors will only be allowed to practice within governmental dictate...or no license to practice.


28 posted on 05/28/2013 9:04:49 AM PDT by hal ogen (First Amendment or Reeducation Camp?)
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To: Truth2012
I am hoping to find such a medical professional in my area.

Let me suggest something. Find a "free clinic" in your area, in which local doctors participate at no charge to destitute patients. These doctors usually have a regular practice in the neighborhood. When you find them, make an appointment to see them in their regular offices and ask what they charge for various things. Quite often such physicians will happily accept you as a new patient on a cash basis.

I only wish I could find specialists as reasonable as these GP's.

29 posted on 05/28/2013 9:05:49 AM PDT by HomeAtLast
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To: Izzy Dunne
The $5,500 bill was stripped down to $3,500, simply because we didn't have insurance.

I had an MRI several years ago. While waiting to be called back for the procedure I overheard an office worker talking on the phone to someone that needed an MRI. She quoted $1,700. I then heard her say "Oh, you don't have insurance? The cost is $850".

Big surprise -- my insurance company was billed $1,700 and paid the UCR of $850.

30 posted on 05/28/2013 9:06:20 AM PDT by ken in texas (The Obama Excuse: They never told me about it.)
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To: apillar
...the only treatment you would be given was the obligatory aspirin, declared well, and sent home, regardless of what ailed you...

I heard this same story from a friend of my dad's, who had gone back to visit the old country (at the time part of the Soviet Union).

31 posted on 05/28/2013 9:06:30 AM PDT by sima_yi ( Reporting live from the far North)
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To: Jewbacca

Indeed. Did not HillaryCare have a clause preventing such an alternative health care system lest the well-to-do obtain superior care?


32 posted on 05/28/2013 9:10:04 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Unindicted Co-conspirators: The Mainstream Media)
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To: Izzy Dunne

That’s all lots of Americans can afford.


33 posted on 05/28/2013 9:10:09 AM PDT by stuartcr ("I have habits that are older than the people telling me they're bad for me.")
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To: fwdude

If we HAVE to have auto insurance, why can they not force us to have medical insurance?


34 posted on 05/28/2013 9:12:36 AM PDT by huldah1776
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To: stuartcr

I needed a nuclear medicine stress test and had no insurance. I asked the price of the test ($3500) and said, “Well, thanks, but no thanks...no insurance.”

They told me, “You need the test! You can pay us a little each month.”

“How much would you require?”

“$50...whatever you can afford.”

“Thanks!”

I ended up having a heard attack on the treadmill, so it was a good thing I didn’t ignore the problem.

After paying for about 9 months, they said, “If you can pay $1000, we will write off the balance.” With a great offer like that, we scraped together and cleared the bill.


35 posted on 05/28/2013 9:12:41 AM PDT by BwanaNdege ("To learn who rules over you simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize"- Voltaire)
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To: BwanaNdege

That’s good to hear


36 posted on 05/28/2013 9:13:35 AM PDT by stuartcr ("I have habits that are older than the people telling me they're bad for me.")
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To: huldah1776
If we HAVE to have auto insurance, why can they not force us to have medical insurance?

Please! Educate yourself on the night/day differences. There is no comparability on these issues at all.

What state CHARGES you if you don't buy car insurance?

37 posted on 05/28/2013 9:14:43 AM PDT by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: llevrok
How long until the IRS orders an audit?

And how long will it be before Attorney Corporal Holder says that he either participates fully in OsamaObamaCare or he loses his medical license.

As a side note...my cardiologist,a big time liberal (we've discussed politics),told me during my last visit that he's starting to close down his practice thanks to OsamaObamaCare.He said he would have shut it down in a few years anyway for a typical retirement but he wants no part of OsamaObamaCare and,thus,his decision.He's on the staff of several large Boston hospitals and is a well known and highly skilled physician and,as I said,he's a liberal.

I think that speaks *volumes* about what an utter *disaster* OsamaObamaCare is gonna be.

38 posted on 05/28/2013 9:15:28 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Leno Was Right,They *Are* Undocumented Democrats!)
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To: huldah1776
If we HAVE to have auto insurance, why can they not force us to have medical insurance?

Not true.Absolutely not true.First of all,there are more than a few people in this country who don't own an car.For example,a surprising number of Manhattan's residents don't own cars.That's due to many factors...the huge costs there being just one.OTOH,everyone in the nation who has a pulse is required to have OsamaObamaCare.Second of all,not *all* states require car owners to have insurance.New Hampshire,for example,doesn't...can't speak for other states.Thirdly...if I'm in a state that requires insurance and I don't have it I DON'T GET A VISIT FROM THE IRS!!!!

39 posted on 05/28/2013 9:23:55 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative (Leno Was Right,They *Are* Undocumented Democrats!)
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To: llevrok

Wish there was a doc like this in this area.


40 posted on 05/28/2013 9:24:54 AM PDT by Ray76 (Do you reject Obama? And all his works? And all his empty promises?)
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Walmart already is operating several walk-in clinics where the services and cash prices are posted outside on a big board. They still do take insurance, but this is also a step in the right direction.


41 posted on 05/28/2013 9:25:31 AM PDT by Arkansas Toothpick
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To: Gay State Conservative

Our family doc of 25 years retired early for similar reasons. Liberal guy, of course.

He’s a mountain climber. So he now goes to Tibet/Nepal etc for a few months of every year and practices general medicine there.

I ran into him the other day and asked him how it was going. “Great! And no one tells me how to put a bandage on either!!” was his response.


42 posted on 05/28/2013 9:26:50 AM PDT by llevrok (I am the "Face Of The Wild, Nasty Hard-Right Fringe")
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To: Theodore R.

I live in Maine and not all of Maine is liberal.

The rural areas are rather conservative and pro-2nd amendment to the hilt, too. Rural Maine homes are as likely to have numerous firearms, just like their counterparts in rural Texas.

The doctor in this story is in the Portland, Maine area.....that area IS rather liberal, and is the most heavily populated area of Maine (which swamps the statewide vote in most, but not all, statewide elections, I’m sorry to say. However, we currently have a conservative TEA party guy as governor, Paul LePage.

I like this doctor’s prices.....they seem reasonable.


43 posted on 05/28/2013 9:28:32 AM PDT by july4thfreedomfoundation (November 4, 2008 and November 6, 2012.....Two days that will live in infamy!)
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To: fwdude

So true and amusing. A new underground market that doesn’t include the cartels & IA’s. WOW!
Somebody needs to get a graphic with a bunch of docs shooting the finger on the tyranny of ocare and paperwork they are facing.Wonder if hospitals will go cash too?


44 posted on 05/28/2013 9:33:01 AM PDT by magna carta
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To: llevrok

and it’s probably tax deductible too


45 posted on 05/28/2013 9:34:16 AM PDT by stuartcr ("I have habits that are older than the people telling me they're bad for me.")
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To: magna carta
So true and amusing. A new underground market that doesn’t include the cartels & IA’s. WOW!

It would be amusing if the expected response by government wasn't so fascistic. These underground doctors would be zealously hunted and prosecuted severely.

46 posted on 05/28/2013 9:36:01 AM PDT by fwdude ( You cannot compromise with that which you must defeat.)
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To: llevrok

I was gonna do the same thing but I didn’t win the $600 million Powerball I was counting on.


47 posted on 05/28/2013 9:42:17 AM PDT by Cyman
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To: huldah1776

Driving is a privilege, living is a right.


48 posted on 05/28/2013 9:49:24 AM PDT by Resolute Conservative
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To: llevrok

I hope a doc like this comes to my area. I’ve been paying cash for years and get a 20% discount, but it’s not always easy and I have to shop around.


49 posted on 05/28/2013 9:53:24 AM PDT by gattaca ("Empty heads are fond of long titles" Old German Proverb.)
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To: NonValueAdded

“Did not HillaryCare have a clause preventing such an alternative health care system lest the well-to-do obtain superior care?”

The well-to-do (and political ruling class) will *always* obtain superior care. The leftists don’t want the Proles to have superior care. They want us to die as quickly and cheaply as possible once we’re no longer producing or useful.


50 posted on 05/28/2013 10:05:29 AM PDT by PLMerite (Shut the Beyotch Down! Burn, baby, burn!)
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