A study has predicted that by 2025, the United States will need 52,000 more family physicians.
According to the findings of a recently released study, the increased access to health insurance that will result from the Affordable Care Act, in combination with the aging population, will create a need for an additional 52,000 family doctors in the United States by 2025.
The healthcare reforms will provide an estimated 34 million additional Americans with coverage access.
One of the authors of the study, Dr. Winston Liaw, has pointed out that the greatest need for family doctors will not be the result in the increased number of individuals with health insurance plans. He explained that “A lot of the increase in utilization is going to be from population growth. That’s going to be the largest driver. Then, a smaller percentage is actually going to be from insurance expansion.”
Only 8,000 of the additional needed doctors are explained by health insurance access reasons.
At the time of the study, Dr. Liaw was a Robert Graham Center fellow in Washington, and who is now in Fairfax at the Virginia Commonwealth University. He and his colleagues, whose findings were published within the Annals of Family Medicine, worked with the information in a number of databases in order to help to predict how many family doctors are currently practicing in the United States and how many people are currently visiting them.
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Using that information, they combined their statistics with U.S. Census Bureau data in order to help to forecast the number of primary care doctors that will be required as the country continues its population growth, as it ages, and as a much larger number of people gain access to health insurance coverage.
It was estimated in 2008 that there were 462 million doctor visits being made by Americans to their family doctors every year. They also estimated that by 2025, that number will increase to reach 565 annual visits. This rise of the use of primary care doctor services will necessitate an increase of 3 percent in the current number of providers. This equals 52,000 additional doctors beyond those that are already in the current workforce.
Among them, 33,000 will be required to cater to the increase in population, 10,000 will be needed due to the requirements of the aging population, and 8,000 are because of the increased health insurance access.