Doctor stops accepting insurance, lowers prices and posts costs online

File photo of doctor's exam room (Thinkstock)
File photo of doctor's exam room (Thinkstock)

A family practice doctor in Maine is refusing all forms of health insurance, including Medicare, in order, he says, to provide better service to his patients.

Dr. Michael Ciampi told the Bangor Daily News that he wants to practice medicine without being dictated to by insurance companies.

On April 1, Ciampi lowered his prices and posted the costs online. For example, an office visit in which patients discuss "one issue of moderate complexity or 2-3 simple issues" costs $75. When Ciampi accepted insurance, the visit would run $160, according to the Bangor Daily News.

The fact that Ciampi lists the prices, he says, means no surprises for his patients.

Say you're an established patient who can't make it to the doctor's office but wish to speak to him over the phone? A 10-minute conversation will run you $20. Each additional five-minute block will cost you $10. A minor surgery, like the draining of a boil will cost between $100 and $150.

Dr. Ciampi told the paper that some patients have left his practice, but that all seem to understand what motivated him to make the change.

Via the Banger Daily News:

Insurance companies no longer dictate how much he charges. He can offer discounts to patients struggling with their medical bills.

He can make house calls. "I’m freed up to do what I think is right for the patients," Ciampi said. "If I’m providing them a service that they value, they can pay me, and we cut the insurance out as the middleman and cut out a lot of the expense."

Ciampi told the paper that he collects payment at the end of each session (he doesn't send bills), and he sees each patient himself. Patients with insurance can submit their receipts for reimbursement, if the insurance company allows for that, according to Ciampi's family practice site.