A Portland, Maine, physician announced on April 1 that he would cut the middle man and deal directly with his patients, no longer accepting insurance in any form.
"I’ve been able to cut my prices in half because my overhead will be so much less," Dr. Michael Ciampi told the Bangor Daily News. Before, Ciampi charged an existing patient $160 for an office visit addressing one or more complicated health problems. Now, he charges $75.
Ciampi lost a few hundred of his 2,000 patients who had insurance and didn't want to deal with the hassle of paperwork for reimbursement, but he expects to make up the loss by attracting the self-employed, the young and others without insurance or with prohibitively high deductibles.
Anna Gorman of the L.A. Times on the drive to enroll young Americans on insurance plans:
Arsine Sargsyan is 23 years old, healthy and uninsured. She chooses to forgo coverage for one simple reason: "I never get sick."
Despite her reluctance, Sargsyan is exactly the type of person insurance plans, states and the federal government are counting on to make health reform work.
As the clock ticks toward the 2014 launch of the Affordable Care Act, health leaders across the nation are embarking on a tough task: persuading young adults like Sargsyan to enroll. Their participation will be critical to balance out older, sicker patients more likely to sign up for health insurance as soon as they are able.
Tom Miller of the American Enterprise Institute on the ACA’s health flexible spending account provisions negative impact on older Americans:
The central provisions of the Affordable Care Act require younger and healthier Americans to buy insurance policies that will, in essence, subsidize the healthcare of older and sicker Americans. But one of Obamacare's hidden taxes — a new limit on contributions to health flexible spending accounts, or FSAs — will hit older and chronically ill individuals hardest.
Starting this year, the healthcare law imposes a $2,500 annual cap on an individual's contribution to an FSA that is part of an employer's "cafeteria" benefits plan. Such contributions, diverted directly from one's paycheck, are not subject to federal income and payroll taxes. The money in an FSA can then be used to pay for qualified medical expenses such as deductibles, co-insurance and co-payments, as well as services not covered by insurance.