Why Doctors Pay Millions in Fees That Could Be Spent on Care

Posted By Madilyn Moeller, Thursday, August 17, 2023

Empty pockets

Imagine if each time your wages were deposited in your bank account, your employer deducted a fee of 1.5% to 5% to provide the money electronically. That, increasingly, is what health insurers are imposing on doctors. Many insurers, after whittling down physicians' reimbursements, now take an additional cut if the doctor prefers — as almost all do — to receive funds electronically rather than via a paper check.

Such fees have become routine in American health care in recent years, according to an investigation by ProPublica published on Monday, and some medical clinics say they'll seek to pass those costs on to patients. Almost 60% of medical practices said they were compelled to pay fees for electronic payment at least some of the time, according to a 2021 survey.

With more than $2 trillion a year of medical claims paid electronically, these fees likely add up to billions of dollars that could be spent on care but instead are going to insurers and middlemen.

Read more at NPR >>