Are Docs Helping Patients With Insurance Exchanges? Survey Results

Marrecca Fiore; Laurie Scudder, DNP, PNP


November 20, 2013

In This Article


State health insurance exchanges or marketplaces for all 50 states and Washington, DC, debuted online across the country on October 1. Thirteen states are running their own exchanges, whereas the rest are being run by the federal government and have been plagued by glitches, crashing, and security fears.

The deadline for Americans who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid to purchase insurance or face a tax penalty stands at March 31, 2013, with the federal government granting a 3-month grace period for late enrollments. However, patients who would like insurance coverage to start on January 1 of next year must purchase premiums by December 15. To help with enrollment, many medical societies, including the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP),[1] are actively encouraging members to help patients navigate the exchanges. The California Medical Association; Latino Physicians of California; and the American Academy of Pediatrics, California, were awarded a $1.5 million grant from the state of California to educate physicians about the state's insurance exchange, Covered California.[2]

Although some physicians are embracing the challenge of educating patients on how to use the new health insurance exchanges, the majority of providers responding to a recent survey from Medscape say doctors should have a limited role when it comes to helping patients purchase insurance.

Medscape's Survey

More than 1600 members participated in Medscape's recent insurance exchange survey, which was posted on the site, and promoted in MedPulses and through social media between October 24 and November 5. The intent was to measure the pulse of clinicians to see what, if any, outreach they are doing to help patients navigate the new system.

Of the respondents, 24% identified themselves as "Physician -- Primary Care," 22% identified themselves as "Physician -- Other," and the remaining 54% of respondents self-identified as healthcare providers other than physicians.


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