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Insured Floridians Delay Health Care, Say ER Doctors

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Florida’s emergency room doctors say they’re seeing patients delay health care—even if they have insurance—

according to the results of a survey published by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).

“Patients with health insurance were delaying health care decisions—and delayed medical care—because of their fear of high out-of-pocket expenses, high deductibles or high co-insurance,“ says Dr. Andrew Bern, a South Florida emergency physician and a spokesperson for ACEP.

Among the findings from ER doctors in Florida:

  • 79 percent are seeing patients with health insurance who have delayed seeking medical care because of high out-of-pocket expenses, high deductibles or high co-insurance.
  • 87 percent say primary care physicians send patients to ERs to receive medical tests or procedures when health insurance companies refuse to cover office visits.
  • 91 percent treat patients who have difficulty finding specialists because health plans have narrow networks.

Those numbers were higher than the national averages:

  • 70 percent are seeing patients with health insurance who have delayed seeking medical care because of high out-of-pocket expenses, high deductibles or high co-insurance.
  • 67 percent say primary care physicians send patients to ERs to receive medical tests or procedures when health insurance companies refuse to cover office visits.
  • 81 percent treat patients who have difficulty finding specialists because health plans have narrow networks.

The national study was released at the national ACEP meeting this week in Boston.

Public radio. Public health. Public policy.