Medicaid Enrollment Up; Physician Acceptance of Medicaid Patients Down

Michigan Medicaid enrollment is increasing, due to the challenging economic status of the state, says the Detroit News. However, also due to the state’s economy, Medicaid is cutting reimbursement payments to physicians, causing many of them to turn down new or even all Medicaid patients. According to physicians, the reimbursements they receive from Medicaid, even before the most recent cuts, are too low – they sometimes receive only one-third of the actual cost of treating the low-income patient. The new cuts will only force more physicians to turn away more Medicaid participants.

Medicaid currently has 1.6 million Michigan residents enrolled, a record high, as compared to 1.5 million in 2006. Conversely, the Detroit News reports, approximately 71% of physicians surveyed in 2008 were accepting new Medicaid patients, as compared to 80% of physicians in 2006.

Experts fear that these trends will cause physicians to leave the state, as well as cause Medicaid patients to go to the emergency room rather than a doctor’s office. This drains more funds from the state budget and could cause Medicaid to lose money.

While the state intends to monitor the situation and work with Medicaid to maintain Michigan doctors, officials assert that the payment cuts are essential to balance the state budget.

For the full text of the Detroit News article, please click here.

For more information, please call Abby Pendleton, Esq., Robert Iwrey, Esq., Adrienne Dresevic, Esq., Carey F. Kalmowitz, Esq. or Jessica L. Gustafson, Esq. at (248) 996-8510 or visit The HLP website.

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