Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Physicians access retainer fees -- are they legal?

Some physicians charge “access retainer fees” to all patients, which covers many services whether used or not, and makes the physician somewhat like an HMO, or perhaps somewhat like a health insurance company, which would mean they should be licensed by their states to sell insurance. A typical story on the practice is here (may require free reigstration). In some cases, such practice would encourage patients to have regular checkups and aggressive treatment of some situations that might otherwise be ignored.

Station WJLA ran an story this evening (Oct 20) hinting that some physicians may try to do this soon with Medicare patients due to cuts, but it’s not clear it would be lawful.

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