Price Tag on Time Spent with Insurers

Practice Cost for Participating in Health Plan

The time a practice spends dealing with health plans’ administrative requirements, and thus the costs involved, varies by specialty and size. Here are selected means for 2006, as reported by Health Affairs.

1-2 doctors 3-9 doctors 10+ doctors Weighted mean
Physician time $72,675 $63,611 $57,480 $64,859
Medical specialty $70,788 $87,566 $78,553 $78,913
Surgical specialty $61,187 $76,429 $59,866 $66,954

Source: “What Does It Cost Physician Practices To Interact With Health Insurance Plans?” Health Affairs, May 14.

…Cost broken down by Physician, Nursing and Office Staff.

1-2 doctors 3-9 doctors 10+ doctors Weighted mean
Physician time
Primary care $16,864 $12,858 $11,118 $13,691
Medical specialist $23,083 $20,850 $18,014 $20,497
Surgical specialist $15,197 $18,091 $16,814 $16,669
Nurse time
Primary care $16,079 $25,142 $25,618 $22,254
Medical specialty $13,279 $29,000 $24,731 $22,449
Surgical specialty $13,328 $26,391 $20,426 $19,935
Clerical staff time
Primary care $31,666 $21,833 $17,918 $23,980
Medical specialty $27,595 $32,411 $20,038 $26,279
Surgical specialty $27,977 $29,118 $19,180 $26,650

Note: time spent by senior administrators, lawyers and accountants is not included in this table.

Source: “What Does It Cost Physician Practices To Interact With Health Insurance Plans?” Health Affairs, May 14.

edical specialty
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