It’s widely known that while there is some variation, in most states Medicaid reimburses physicians at significantly lower rates than private insurers. As we’ve previously highlighted, research indicates that these low rates of payment affect physicians’ decisions to treat Medicaid patients.
While low reimbursement is a serious problem in Medicaid that ultimately compromises access and thus quality of care for those receiving public assistance, a new study published yesterday by Health Affairs finds that administrative burdens—in particular payment delays— can also have a significant effect on physicians decisions to accept Medicaid patients.
In the words of Health System Change Senior Fellow Peter Cunningham (coauthor of the study with Ann O’Malley), here’s the key take-away:
Medicaid payment rates matter, but the hassle factor also matters, and this study strongly suggests that higher Medicaid fees won’t have the desired effect of increasing access if physicians have to wait months to get paid.