Skip to comments.South Portland (ME) doctor stops accepting insurance, posts prices online
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 practices website.
The change took effect April 1.
Its been almost unanimous that patients have expressed understanding at why Im doing what Im doing, although Ive 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.
Im freed up to do what I think is right for the patients, Ciampi said. If Im 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, wasnt 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.
Ive 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 physicians assistant or a nurse practitioner, he said.
If more doctors were able to do this, that would be real health care reform, he said. Thats when wed see the cost of medicine truly go down.
The only way to get rid of a government monopoly is to decline participation.
If enough doctors do so, Ubamacare will die.
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.
Ironically, ObamaCare may, in fact, lower the cost of healthcare by making it a cash/barter market.
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........
I want catastrophic insurance in case I get brain cancer. For everything else, I'd pay out of pocket quite happily.
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.
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.
when people act rationally and devise methods to avoid their control.
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.
His school loans must be paid off.
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!
Do you think he would have taken $25/month?
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.
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.
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.
Bless him. I bet his business booms, even if clients have to fill out the insurance paperwork.
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?
“Dimwit 80 percent” may even be a generous mathematical calculation.
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.
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.
I know a dermatologist who only accepts cash. Place is booked and lead times are quite long.
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...
is that legal in this fascist nation?
“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.
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.
Don't know; didn't ask.
I doubt it, though. It would have taken 220 months to pay that off.
The government has the doctors by the balls. Eventually, doctors will only be allowed to practice within governmental dictate...or no license to practice.
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.
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.
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).
Indeed. Did not HillaryCare have a clause preventing such an alternative health care system lest the well-to-do obtain superior care?
That’s all lots of Americans can afford.
If we HAVE to have auto insurance, why can they not force us to have medical insurance?
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.”
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.
That’s good to hear
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?
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.
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!!!!
Wish there was a doc like this in this area.
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.
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.
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.
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?
and it’s probably tax deductible too
It would be amusing if the expected response by government wasn't so fascistic. These underground doctors would be zealously hunted and prosecuted severely.
I was gonna do the same thing but I didn’t win the $600 million Powerball I was counting on.
Driving is a privilege, living is a right.
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.
“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.