Awesome Doctor Posts All His Prices Online, Stops Accepting Insurance For Payment

doctor prices, medical costs

Dr. Michael Ciampi, a doctor in Portland, ME, has made some revolutionary changes in his medical practice. This family physician stopped accepting all forms of health insurance and is committed to posting all of the prices for his services on his practice’s website. It may seem extreme, but I honestly think this is a step in the right direction in terms of fixing our country’s terribly expensive healthcare system.

Now, I don’t necessarily think it’s awesome that this doctor has stopped accepting all insurance, because it means that some insured people (who can only afford care through their insurance) won’t be able to go to him anymore. But I do really admire his commitment to transparency. His website is currently down, so I can’t actually tell how much he actually charges for his services, unfortunately, although the Bangor Daily News reports that his price for an office visit has decreased from $160 to $75.

Ciampi said the rationale behind the changes in his practice (which took effect on April 1) was to allow him to practice medicine as he sees fit. By not accepting insurance, he can set his own prices, do house calls, offer discounts to financially-strapped patients, and more. He said:

“It’s been almost unanimous that patients have expressed understanding at why I’m doing what I’m doing, although I’ve had many people leave the practice because they want to be covered by insurance, which is understandable.”

 

Ciampi had about 2,000 patients before the change and he’s lost about 200, he said. He added:

“I’m freed up to do what I think is right for the patients. 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.”

He hopes his practice’s new configuration will attract people who are self-employed and people without insurance, as well as people with very insurance high deductibles. Dr. Ciampi said he hopes his approach to practicing medicine will be part of the new wave of healthcare reform:

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

 

As we learned a few weeks ago, healthcare costs can vary widely from doctor to doctor, from hospital to hospital and from insurance company to insurance company, regardless of how similar the procedure or the prescription. Healthcare costs are increasingly becoming a burden for people of all walks of life and I think, finally, the public is starting to wake up to the widespread problems with our current system of care. If there were a doctor like Dr. Ciampi in my community, I would certainly take advantage of his services (and not just because the health insurance I have is kinda crappy). Obviously his approach doesn’t make sense for every care provider (I can’t really imagine a flat-rate cardiologist) but for a low-risk doctor like himself, I think his approach is both smart and compassionate.

What do you think about Dr. Ciampi’s decision/ Do you think this can be a way to ultimately cut costs for consumers or is his approach too radical?

Photo: Shutterstock

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    • Eileen

      This sounds GREAT for family doctors (especially considering if you do have insurance, you can still submit the bill for reimbursement; you just have to do it yourself) or other types of well check-ups, but there are still some medical procedures that cost a ton of money, no two ways around it. Medical breakthroughs are awesome, but they cost a lot of money to develop, to create the instruments, to train the doctors. There’s no reason that a basic checkup should be impossible for a person to pay for out-of-pocket, but there’s still the health equivalent of a car crash, so I can’t see insurance going away completely.

    • Eileen

      This sounds GREAT for family doctors (especially considering if you do have insurance, you can still submit the bill for reimbursement; you just have to do it yourself) or other types of well check-ups, but there are still some medical procedures that cost a ton of money, no two ways around it. Medical breakthroughs are awesome, but they cost a lot of money to develop, to create the instruments, to train the doctors. There’s no reason that a basic checkup should be impossible for a person to pay for out-of-pocket, but there’s still the health equivalent of a car crash, so I can’t see insurance going away completely.

    • chicky

      Way to go DOC!!!!! Maybe this is a way for Doctors to make more money in the long run. If we weed out insurance, no one will sue for damages and prices will drop. What a wonderful concept. House calls too? Almost sounds like a true medical practice like the old days when the oath taken, will actually be practiced more then the bill collecting.

    • Lastango

      I saw another article about this the other day (google “tomsett ciampi”). Here’s a key snip:

      “A doctor’s income is what the office takes in payments minus expenses or
      overhead. Physician overhead cover many things but the most expensive
      cost is the staff necessary to handle insurance coverage. About 20 to 30
      years ago this cost used to be around 15 to 30% of revenue. Now for
      many doctors this insurance overhead has grown to an outstanding 60% or
      more, with more staff being hired to handle the quickly enlarging piles
      of paperwork required by Obamacare.”

      Having 60% of office cost devoted to filing government paperwork gives one hell of an incentive to getting rid of the paperwork!