Psychiatrists, who are often relied on by individuals with developmental disabilities, are less likely than other doctors to accept insurance, a new study finds.
Slightly more than half of psychiatrists said they accepted private insurance in 2009-2010. A similar number took Medicare but even less — 43 percent — accepted Medicaid.
The findings come from an analysis of a nationally-representative survey of doctors that’s conducted annually by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics. Each year about 1,250 doctors are polled, some 5.5 percent of whom are psychiatrists.
“More than physicians in other specialties, psychiatrists accept lower rates of insurance, and those who don’t take insurance are likely charging cash for their services,” said Tara Bishop, an assistant professor at Weill Cornell Medical College who led the study published this month in JAMA Psychiatry.
“I suspect our study conclusions will be an eye opener for both the public and the medical community,” Bishop said. “No prior studies have documented such striking differences in insurance acceptance rates by psychiatrists and physicians of other specialties — primarily because no one has looked closely at the issue.”