The vast majority of U.S. residents have some form of health insurance, with private health insurance coverage being more prevalent than public insurance coverage (e.g., Medicare, Medicaid). Reimbursement rates for health care services differ between private and public plans, which can be a deciding factor in physicians’ acceptance of new patients. Gathering and analyzing data on physicians who accept new patients can help improve understanding of barriers to care and identify patient characteristics associated with physicians’ decisions whether to accept or decline new patients.
State Health Compare provides state-level rates of physicians who reported accepting new patients using data from the National Electronic Health Records Survey (NEHRS) fielded by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Data years were pooled for this measure (2011-2013 and 2014-2017), as single-year estimates were not possible and estimates can be broken down by type of patient insurance coverage (Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance).
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This brief summarizes key findings from a 2021 paper, “The effect of Medicaid expansion on Medicaid participation, payer mix, and labor supply in primary care,” authored by Dr. Hannah T. Neprash and colleagues. This study was the first to provide direct answers about concrete ways (appointments offered, appointment payer mix) that clinicians responded to the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid.