April 6, 2015

The states where doctors are least likely to accept new Medicaid patients

Daily Briefing

    About 69% of physicians across the United States said they were accepting new Medicaid patients in 2013, according to a new CDC report.

    For the report, conducted between February 2013 and June 2013, researchers analyzed data from the 2013 National Electronic Health Records Survey.

    Where doctors are most likely to accept Medicaid patients

    According to the report, New Jersey had the lowest percentage of physicians accepting new Medicaid patients in 2013, at 38.7%. California had the second-lowest percentage, at 54.2%, followed by Florida, Louisiana, and New York.

    Nebraska had the highest percentage of doctors accepting new Medicaid patients, at 96.5%.

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    Meanwhile, researchers found that 83.7% of physicians in 2013 were accepting new Medicare patients, while 84.7% were accepting new patients with private insurance.

    Role of state rates

    The report did not account for Medicaid reimbursement increases under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

    Medicaid reimbursements vary by state and are generally lower than Medicare reimbursements and private insurer payments. To encourage primary care doctors to treat more Medicaid beneficiaries, the ACA raised Medicaid reimbursements for 2013 and 2014 to the same rates as Medicare reimbursements. However, some states experienced implementation delays and did not enact the payment bumps until later in 2013, according to the report.

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    Those rate increases expired at the end of 2014. At the same time, a Kaiser Family Foundation report found that 15 states planned to continue the rate increase either partially or fully.

    CDC researchers said that the agency will have to examine 2014 data "to determine if physician acceptance of new Medicaid patients increased" as a result of the higher reimbursement rates (Livio, Newark Star-Ledger, 3/31; CDC report, March 2015; Evans, CQ News, 4/2 [subscription required]).

    The takeaway: New data from CDC suggest that the percentage of doctors accepting new Medicaid patients varies significantly by state.

    More from today's Daily Briefing
    1. Current ArticleThe states where doctors are least likely to accept new Medicaid patients

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