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How does Obama's plan affect Optometrists?

Discussion in 'Optometry' started by fkajoshaj, Jul 20, 2009.

  1. fkajoshaj

    fkajoshaj 2+ Year Member

    Jun 7, 2007
    Im not sure if this topic was discussed on sdn (tried searching for it), but I was wondering what your thoughts were on Obama's health care plan? How will it affect current Optometrists? Prospective Optometrists?:idea:
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  3. KHE

    KHE Senior Member Optometrist SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2005
    Unfortunately, there's no good answer to this because the plan will likely change substantially between now and the time when/if it's implemented.

    In general though, optometric "success" with it is almost tied entirely to our ability to participate in it. If we are allowed access and able to do the things we are trained and licensed to do and get paid for them, we will be fine.

    If not, well then that could be a problem. Right now however there is no real evidence to suggest that optometry would be excluded.
  4. fkajoshaj

    fkajoshaj 2+ Year Member

    Jun 7, 2007
    Obama's plan as of today, is to expand medicaid/medicare to all of those who are uninsured and make government insurance the standard health insurance for all. Doctors providing services to patients will have to accept the governments price of for the procedures. If an Optometrist who is charging private insurances lets say $125 for an eye exam, will no longer be able to charge patients with government insurance the same fee. Optometrists along with all doctors will have no choice but to accept the reimbursements that the Gov't will pay for, which to my understanding is not that great. So right now, it seems like Doctors will either a) have a cut in their salary with same patient rate or b) have to make up for that salary loss by seeing more patients a day. Above all, taxes will have to increase if Obama plans on granting insurance to all those who are currently uninsured. His plan is being criticized by both Democrats and Republicans.

    If I am a patient who is uninsured, I see this as a great thing! But, if I am a Doctor I would definitely not want this plan to pass. Cheap gov't health insurance will encourage others who are paying their premiums to private insurance, to change and get on the gov't insurance program. All in all, as a student that is about to start Optometry school, I am definitely concerned about the future of the health profession and hope this plan does not affect current and future Optometrists in a bad way.
  5. DawgOD

    DawgOD SCO C/o 2014 5+ Year Member

    May 16, 2008
    Atlanta, GA
    There are a TON of people who don't have any health insurance... So if it is given to them... That means a lot more business...

    There are a ton of people who have health insurance, but no vision insurance... That means a lot more business...

    If you want to make more money on less patients... then yes.. you could be upset...

    But allowing everyone to have health insurance is a plus IMO. And if you take care of your patients.. you will have them for life...

    Medicare pays well!! especially if the person is a diabetic, or has some other type of disease... To be successful.. You have to be knowledgable about medical billing...

    I've seen an OD make up to 300+ on one patient b/c they were a diabetic.. not to mention how much they will make on the follow up visits...

    Again.. to me its a good thing... If you want to be an eyecare physician.. You will not suffer...

    If all you want to do is give glasses and contacts out.. You will suffer...
  6. jefguth

    jefguth Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 11, 2004
    British Columbia
    The caveat to this is that the government is going to be looking for ways to put downward pressure on all expenses, including provider reimbursement. And what if they take a medicaid approach to fee schedules, then there not going to be any $300 DM patients visits for sure.
  7. Ryan_eyeball

    Ryan_eyeball Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 20, 2005
    $300 on a diabetic patient for one exam is not the norm. You might get around $100-130 for a new diabetic patient without photos. Photos might tack on another $65.00 to the visit, but must be medically necessary. If the patient is having CSME you could do OCT (not sure on the allowable since i do not possess a scanning laser), and warrant a Visual field also for another $70.

    Possibly could get another $25 for gonio on a higher risk patient if your worried about Neo of the Angle.
  8. coppertopdoc

    coppertopdoc 10+ Year Member

    May 25, 2007
    According to the info sent to us by our state association(OK), there is no non-discrimination language and that the result would be OD's being excluded. The AOA has an amendment to include this language, but is apparently falling on deaf ears.

    Just the latest info we received.
  9. thanotoriousfob

    thanotoriousfob 7+ Year Member

    Apr 3, 2007
  10. jymezg

    jymezg SCO c/o 2013 2+ Year Member

    Sep 24, 2008
    Memphus, TN
    Thats kinda old, know of anything a little newer?
  11. KHE

    KHE Senior Member Optometrist SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2005
    While that is definitely concern, not having that language in there does not automatically mean optometrists are or will be excluded.

    I've practiced in states with no AWP laws and yet ODs are welcomed onto medical plans.

    I've practiced in states where there strong AWP laws in place and ODs are still in effect excluded because the dominant plans are ERISA plans.

    One of the biggest things optometry has going for it with respect to this is that we ARE classified as "physicians" under medicare. I'm not sure (and I'm not sure ANYONE is sure) that anything in this bill would trump that, but as always, better safe than sorry and I'm glad the AOA is pursuing that language being put in there.

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