Medicare is a government-funded program that seeks to deliver medical insurance protection to people with disability as well as retired individuals. A majority of US citizens are eligible for Medicare insurance coverage after hitting the age of 65 years.
If you’re qualified for receiving Medicare, you’ve probably realized that it’s not easy to find a Medicare doctor, whether a specialist or a general practitioner. The government has set inadequate payment schedules, which has contributed to most doctors opting out of the system. The majority of doctors can hardly afford to take the significantly lower payments offered for Medicare services while also affording to fund the substantially greater paperwork that is associated with such patients.
Medicare Patient Acceptance and Limitations
Consequently, while massive numbers of doctors are opting out of the system, the remaining physicians who are still accepting Medicare patients will often limit the number of people they’re willing to serve. It, therefore, follows that finding a doctor who will accept your Medicare insurance is not a walk in the park; simply perusing the phone book and making a few phone calls will not suffice. Discussed below are some proven ways of elevating your chances of finding a hospital that accepts Medicare.
The CMS—Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services—has an established website known as Physicians Compare in conformity with the requirement by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Through this website, you can find a Medicare doctor by entering a medical condition, the professional’s last name or their medical specialty, an organ system or a body part. This search tool operates by providing you with a list of professionals in your geographical area whose specialty suits your specific requirements, along with detailed profiles, maps as well as driving directions.
Use Hospital Compare
Hospital Compare was created out of the efforts of CMS while collaborating with organizations representing hospitals, consumers, doctors, employers and accrediting organizations among other federal agencies. This website provides information about the respective quality of care for over 4,000 hospitals across the US. Such information not only helps you in making decisions about where to receive health care, but it also compels hospitals to improve the quality of care they provide. More importantly, this website provides a detailed guide for locating hospitals providing Medicare services as well as doctors who accept Medicare. You may also visit the Medicare website or call them via 800-633-4227 (TTY 877-486-2048) to access a list of Medicare providers in your area. Although there is no guarantee that such doctors are accepting new patients, it’s worth trying.
Employ Online Directories – Medicare Approved Doctors
Online directories like MedlinePlus will provide you with a list of health facilities and doctors who accept Medicare patients. However, Medline doesn’t recommend or endorse any organization producing these directories, nor the individuals or organizations thus included. You could also employ such other online tools as Coventry. This online directory will give you access to more than 25 types of healthcare providers. Such include pharmacies, hospitals, hospice providers, physical therapists and dialysis centers that accept Medicare as a form of payment. However, the participating hospitals and doctors among other health care providers are neither employees nor agents of Coventry but independent contractors. The website does not guarantee the availability of any particular Medicare doctor; the network constituent is subject to periodic changes.
Contact Your Local Health Department
Tracking down Medicare accepting doctors will also entail contacting your social service agencies or local health department. This will also help you in ascertaining the credibility of each Medicare doctor listed in online directories. While these agencies will not necessarily guarantee you an appointment, they will at least have updated information about current Medicare providers. This is especially useful because online search tools will provide you with too many names, including those of doctors who have already retired or died. There is no regulation requiring physicians to admit and treat patients with Medicare or Medicaid insurance. This has increasingly seen more Medicare patients turning to federally funded clinics, or worse still, to emergency rooms that cannot legally turn them away.
Reimbursement Rates Explained
Unfortunately, utilizing emergency facilities for non-emergency health issues is incredibly expensive. This renders the lower reimbursement Medicare rates financially unwise in the long run. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission reveals that the majority of Medicare beneficiaries looking for a new primary-care physician have had trouble locating an ideal doctor. With increased high paperwork burdens coupled with low reimbursement rates, finding a physician from the narrowing list of Medicare accepting doctors is not easy. If you have Medicare or you have a family member with it, you’ll want to visit medicare.gov, which is the legitimate U.S government website for beneficiaries of this insurance coverage. Here, you’ll access current information on Medicare benefits. Enrollment and most importantly, a list of hospitals and doctors who accept Medicare as a form of payment for services offered.