Physician Participation in Health Insurance Plans: Evidence on Blue Shield
Various health insurance programs, including Blue Shield, have developed arrangements whereby the physician agrees to accept the insurer's reimbursement as payment in full. Incentives facing the physician to accept an arrangement of this type are reviewed in this study. The empirical work uses data on individual physicians from a 1973 survey. The results indicate that physician willingness to accept insurer reimbursement as payment in full is sensitive to the amount the insurer pays for specific procedures and to other insurance program characteristics. Physicians located in high patient income areas and/ or with relatively prestigious credentials are less likely to accept insurer payments as payment in full. The empirical findings are used to generate policy implications pertaining to the Medicare and Medicaid programs, to medical care quality-access tradeoffs, and to national health insurance.
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