Health insurance not accepted by half of U.S. psychiatrists

A new study has shown that these medical professionals will not be paid through a coverage plan.

Recently, as the health care reform truly takes hold across the country, there has been a growing focus on mental health and integrating it with physical care, which has revealed that about half of all psychiatrists in the country will not accept health insurance.

True integration of mental and physical wellness and care has been proving to be an increasingly difficult process.

mental health insurancePhysician Tara Bishop, who is also a researcher at Weill Cornell Medical College worked with a colleague to help to determine how difficult it would be for primary care patients to be able to find psychiatric care. They held a study and what they found was that health insurance is not accepted by approximately half of the country’s psychiatrists.

Dr. Bishop also found a number of other discrepancies with regards to health insurance acceptance.

She explained that “There is such a big difference, almost a 30 percentage point difference in acceptance rates between psychiatrist and physicians of other specialties, about 80 to 90 percent of those physicians take insurance.”

Grant Mitchell, a psychiatrist from Columbia University explained that the reason that many mental health professionals – himself included – do not accept payment through coverage plans is the result of decades of discriminating against individuals in his profession. He stated that “If you went to see a psychiatrist for an outpatient visit, you were reimbursed for 50 percent. If you went to a medical doctor, you were reimbursed for 80 percent of that fee.”

Furthermore, he also pointed out that many psychiatrists are working in practices on their own and without any staff. For that reason, they can’t afford to take on all of the additional paperwork that is involved in accepting that form of payment.

It should be pointed out that the data used by Dr. Bishop in her study was from statistics that ran from 2005 through 2010. Since that time, the health care reform law has started to gradually increase the reimbursements that psychiatrists are able to receive from health insurance payments.

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