A new Medical Group Management Association survey suggests that insurance coverage does not necessarily mean healthcare access. More than half the physician practices responding to the survey said they had not yet decided whether they will participate in health plans sold on the new state insurance exchanges.
Dr. Stephen Brotherton, president of the Texas Medical Association and an orthopedic surgeon practicing in Fort Worth, said physicians in Texas need more information before making up their minds. “That survey response is not unexpected,” Brotherton said. He added that only about a third of Texas doctors are taking new Medicaid patients and about 58% are taking new patients covered by Medicare. “It's a matter of what you can accept and still keep your doors open.”
In contrast, many hospital leaders in Texas and other states are eager to have uninsured people join exchange plans. In Texas, nearly 25% of non-elderly residents do not have health insurance, the highest uninsured rate in the country. Hospitals have to accept emergency patients whether they have insurance or not, while physicians do not.