When doctors opt out

Physicians and practitioners who do not wish to enroll in the Medicare program may file an "opt-out" affidavit that will prevent the provider and beneficiaries seeing them from submitting bills to the CMS.

each doctor

who opts out




effective date

There was a 10 percent bonus that Medicare paid physicians from 2011 to 2015, but that expired as the calendar flipped to 2016, further straining physicians who were already under pressure to treat these new low-income patients on top of their already jam-packed schedules.

Oral surgeons, dentists, and psychiatrists account for more than half of thesedoctors.

Oral surgeons, dentists, and psychiatrists

Opt outs dipped slightly to just over 7,000 in 2016, and have dropped to just 662 in 2017, according to data released by the CMS this month.

“Figures from 2015 and 2016 may represent the first wave of physicians opting out and lower 2017 data may reflect the fact that physicians no longer need to file affidavits to renew,” said Anders Gilberg, senior vice president of government affairs for the Medical Group Management Association.

Source: Modern Healthcare analysis of CMS data
Graphics by Fan Fei