Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Real Healthcare Reform: Doctor Stops Accepting Insurance, Able To Cut Prices By Fifty Percent

The Bangor Daily reports:

 Dr. Michael Ciampi took a step this spring that many of his fellow physicians would describe as radical.

The family physician stopped accepting all forms of health insurance. In early 2013, Ciampi sent a letter to his patients informing them that he would no longer accept any kind of health coverage, both private and government-sponsored. Given that he was now asking patients to pay for his services out of pocket, he posted his prices on the practice’s website.

Before the switch, Ciampi had about 2,000 patients. He lost several hundred, he said. Some patients with health coverage, faced with having to seek reimbursement themselves rather than through his office, bristled at the paperwork burden.

But the decision to do away with insurance allows Ciampi to practice medicine the way he sees fit, he said. Insurance companies no longer dictate how much he charges. He can offer discounts to patients struggling with their medical bills. He can make house calls.

“I’m freed up to do what I think is right for the patients,” Ciampi said. “If I’m providing them a service that they value, they can pay me, and we cut the insurance out as the middleman and cut out a lot of the expense.”…

…“I’ve been able to cut my prices in half because my overhead will be so much less,” he said.[...]

Before, Ciampi charged $160 for an office visit with an existing patient facing one or more complicated health problems. Now, he charges $75.

Patients with an earache or strep throat can spend $300 at their local hospital emergency room, or promptly get an appointment at his office and pay $50, he said.[...]

“If more doctors were able to do this, that would be real health care reform,” he said. “That’s when we’d see the cost of medicine truly go down.”


  1. I am a nurse and I can tell you that heathcare is has to be one. Of the most unproductive industries. We waste so much money its disgusting. There is a huge healthcare bubble that is waiting to be burst.

  2. The prices I see in the article are better than what I end up paying after insurance. I'd gladly work with a doctor who did this.

  3. Maine's population all of a sudden rises.

  4. more doctors here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/lewrockwell-show/2012/05/08/276-free-market-medical-care/

  5. The "powers that be" won't be happy about this getting out. I will pray he is protected from loosing his license or worse his life

    1. A doctor can't lose his license over this kind of activity. It will be looked down upon, but nothing after that.

  6. Exactly. THIS is the solution to the healthcare "crisis". My wife and I know a doctor and his nurse wife who have operated on this basis for years. We need to get rid of the 3rd-party-payer system. In addition to the paperwork, it also provides no incentive for providers to keep costs down, since the customers don't really care what the charges are. Perhaps there is a place for catastrophic coverage, but for routine office visits and the normal outlay for medical expenses, they should be budgeted by the household like food, rent, clothes, auto repair, etc. BTW, that last, auto repair, is fast succumbing to the 3rd-party-payer system. And costs are skyrocketing in response.
    I'm old enough to remember when a hospital bed was $100 a night. I recently got a bill for $5,000 for a couple of hours of wearing a hospital gown. I know the dollar was quite a bit larger then, but 50 TIMES???

    1. I agree completely. There would also be advantages to patient care as the system pushes patients towards drugs and surgery when there are better approaches that address the underlying problem rather than treating symptoms on a chronic basis.

  7. Here in southern California it is not hard to find a cash-only general practitioner doctor at affordable prices, $35-60 for standard office visit. These doctors primarily serve immigrants or others living on a cash basis, are not well-integrated with hospitals, and therefore are limited to ordering lab tests and writing prescriptions. So-called "concierge" medical practices abound serving upper middle class patients for an annual subscription fee, usually about $5000 and up; perhaps some of these doctors retain relationships with hospitals (I don't know). If a hospital were to stop accepting insurance, now that would be really big news. That may be impossible because hospitals are forbidden by government from demanding payment in advance for emergency services.

  8. Totally agree - the way out of the healthcare blunder is to liberate one's self from the insurance industry.
    I no longer accept government insurance - Medicare and Medicaid. I also reduced my prices ...
    this is a new way of thinking and behaving regarding the provision of health care services. It requires individuals
    to take responsibility for their healthcare needs, and this ethic will take time to be established in society.
    Yes ~ exercise your right to practice independent of the dictates of the insurance industry.
    It's a free market after all, and the salvation of the professional private practice of psychology . . .
    It's alwo the way of liberty & freedom-to-flourish for a profession that sold its soul to medicine, and consequently,
    is floundering . . .

    P.S. Medicare (DMA) already has a list of those who opt out of Medicare . . .

    ~ A licensed clinical psychologist in Western North Carolina.