The research has shown that delays and compromised medical care are resulting from common strategies.
According to the results of a poll conducted by the largest advocacy group for emergency physicians in the United States, recent tactics being used by the health insurance industry are causing patients to have to give up on necessary medical care.
The poll involved the participation of 1,433 physicians and was conducted by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
The survey was conducted throughout September 2015 and this nationwide poll’s results revealed that 70 percent of emergency physicians are providing care for patients who have obtained coverage through the health insurance industry but who have put off a trip to the emergency department (ED) due to costs such as expensive deductibles, high co-pays and costly out of pocket expenses.
The research has looked into how the recent moves of the health insurance industry are affecting policyholders.
The research examined the ways in which health insurance companies are working to try to reduce their costs, and the impact those methods are having on patients who obtain emergency medical care.
Among the main findings that the poll discovered was that 75 percent of physicians claimed that they are seeing greater numbers of patients who are covered through Medicaid, which is the outcome of the “narrow networks” from inability of insurance companies to be able to provide a higher number of primary care physicians.
As insurance companies work hard to draw in their costs, patients are being discouraged from seeking the medical care they need. This phenomenon of narrow networks is a trend that is rapidly making its way across the country. Moreover, 67 percent of emergency physicians reported that primary care physicians are directing their patients to receive tests and procedures from EDs because the health plans carried by those patients refuse to cover the same tests and procedures if they are conducted within the physician’s office.
The research indicated that these strategies from the health insurance industry are promoting overcrowding in emergency departments and could potentially impact patient safety. According to ACEP president, Jay Kaplan, MD, FACEP, “This is a scary environment for patients.” He went on to state that “Many patients are motivated by fear of costs and not by the seriousness of their medical conditions.”