Changes in Medicaid Physician Fees, 1998-2003: Implications For Physician Participation

Despite recent gains, the relative attractiveness of Medicaid patients has not improved much over the longer term

June 23, 2004
Health Affairs , Web Exclusive, June 23, 2004.
Stephen Zuckerman, Joshua McFeeters, Peter J. Cunningham, Len M. Nichols

After slow growth during much of the 1990s, Medicaid physician fees increased, on average, by 27.4 percent between 1998 and 2003. Primary care fees grew the most. States with the lowest relative fees in 1998 increased their fees the most, but almost no states changed their position relative to other states or Medicare. Physicians in states with the lowest Medicaid fees were less willing to accept most or all new Medicaid patients in both 1998 and 2003. However, large fee increases were associated with primary care physicians’ greater willingness to accept new Medicaid patients.

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