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    « NY Court: SUM Coverage Is Reduced By Non-Auto Coverage | Main | Ask Tim, Episode #34: What is an Independent Contractor in Construction? »

    October 01, 2012

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    Barb

    I think another reason Dr.'s order additional tests is to cover their butts for fear of being sued for malpractice.

    Tim Dodge

    Barb,

    That is undoubtedly true. One glance at the malpractice insurance premium bills they get will drive that point home in a hurry. If there is a health care reform part two bill, malpractice reform should be one component of it.

    Jim Maiella

    I think another question a doctor asks himself before ordering a test is: Will I get sued if I don't order the test, and it turns out - no matter how remote - that the patient might have been better off if I had ordered it.

    Darrell Schapmire

    The so-called "reform" known as Obamacare moved us much closer to a European-style healthcare system . . . with the exception of robust measures to control frivolous malpractice suits. This will leave us with the worst of all worlds . . . fewer physicians, higher medical costs and loss of access to care.

    Tim Dodge

    Jim,
    No question. Doctors need at least limited immunity from malpractice suits in order to do their jobs properly and cost-effectively. It will be interesting to see if that becomes part of future health care reform efforts.

    Tim Dodge

    Darrell,

    I hope it doesn't work out that way. As I've stated above, we have to consider some kind of protection for physicians against lawsuits so they can practice effectively and cost-efficiently. I don't think anyone wants to let incompetent physicians off the hook, but the 90 plus percent who are good ones shouldn't have to worry about getting sued because they didn't order an unnecessary test. Thank you for the comment.

    Jeff White

    I agree, If The Health Care Reform works, we will have to look for a lot of similar changes to come over the next 10 years.

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    Starting in 2014, Medicaid will be expanded so that more people qualify, including low-income adults without children. For those who still don’t qualify for Medicaid, and can’t afford health insurance, there will be state-based insurance exchanges. If you can’t afford health insurance, you could be eligible for sliding-scale subsidies to help you pay your premiums.
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    Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, health insurance plans have started covering more preventive care and women's health care services with no out-of-pocket cost, and lifetime coverage limits no longer exist for most services. Expect benefits to improve in the next year, too, as coverage for things like maternity care becomes standard, but keep in mind that higher benefits may also mean higher monthly premiums. No one can say exactly what your health insurance costs will look like in 2014, but unless you qualify for subsidies, you may face an increase in what you pay for monthly premiums. Start budgeting for that possibility now, and consider opening a tax-advantaged Health Savings Account if your current health plan is qualified for use with one.
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    Medicaid is an even bigger source of uncertainty. In January state legislatures will meet for the first time since the Supreme Court ruling. They must decide whether to expand Medicaid for 2014. Obamacare promises to pay for 100% of costs from 2014 to 2016, inching down to 90% in 2020 and after. This is a good deal for states, according to scholars at the Urban Institute. An extra 21.3m people would enroll in Medicaid by 2022.

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    The biggest change is that most Americans will be required to purchase health insurance. This provision doesn’t kick in until 2014, so you have some time to consider your health insurance options, including a high deductible plan paired with a Health Savings Account. You can be exempted from the requirement to purchase health insurance if you can show financial hardship, that the health insurance goes against religious beliefs, or if you are American Indian. There will be financial penalties starting in 2014 for those who don’t purchase insurance. The penalty starts at 1% of income and rises to 2.5% of income by 2016.

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    Since the Individual Mandate and the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care/Health Care Reform) have been upheld by the Supreme Court (6/28/2012), I thought it would be a good idea to sell the features of the law. President Obama has done a great job of crafting the law and navigating through all the opposition.
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