Isaac Bowen | Flickr.com
Isaac Bowen | Flickr.com

Everyone hates having to deal with insurance companies. You only contact them when you really need them, so you typically contact them in times of crisis. That said, the last thing that anyone wants to do when they are dealing with a serious issue is deal with a bureaucracy and all the associated red tape. Interestingly enough, patients are not the only ones who loathe handling insurance claims. A recent study found that doctors feel that barriers set in place by insurance plans are not only frustrating but potentially harmful for their patients.

Researchers with Aimed Alliance found that physicians do not tend to think very highly of health insurance companies. In fact, some doctors feel that policies such as prior authorizations ahead of filling prescriptions put patients at risk. Nearly 90 percent of the surveyed doctors said that they feel their patients’ conditions have grown worse due to bureaucratic red tape, and over 80 percent worry that their patients will suffer prolonged pain as a result. They said that the policy delays necessary care for patients and is made worse by what they called “non-medical switching” where patients are forced to take medications that cost less but may be less effective.

The red tape has grown so cumbersome and appears to be harming patients enough that doctors are doing more than just complaining about a few bureaucratic headaches. Nearly half of the surveyed doctors said the insurance red tape was so frustrating that they were considering a career change, and nearly two thirds said that they would advise others against taking a career in medicine in order to avoid the madness.

“As practitioners, much of our time is spent on burdensome paperwork required from health insurers for our services to be paid for,” said Dr. Shannon Ginnan. “This prevents us from spending as much time on patient care as we would like, and it doesn’t take much for all this paperwork to interfere with the services that we provide.”

The biggest issue for most doctors is that they feel that insurers have the ability to override the professional judgement of physicians or interfere with the physicians’ ability to provide individualized treatment to patients. Other issues the surveyed doctors mentioned included needing to hire more staffers to handle the massive administration load and a sense that they are going to be liable for decisions the insurers make. While doctors may disagree on the exact issues, they do seem to be in agreement on one thing. If the paperwork load gets any worse, they are going to need doctors of their own to treat the resultant migraines.

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

To state the obvious, we are all learning to adjust to a new way of living. Humans are not wired to live in long, sustained periods of isolation or social distancing, and we are having to adapt to new ways of working together, being creative, and living our lives. With all of these new dynamics, […]

Obesity has become of the nation’s leading public health problems, and now with nearly 1 in 5 U.S. kids being obese, researchers are disappointed that programs across the country haven’t been effective. The latest data comes from surveys done in 2017 and 2018 by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were more than […]

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle should always be a top priority, but sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that the habits we presently have can determine just how long we’ll live. A recent study found that something as simple as daily walking can be associated with a lower mortality from all causes. You read that […]

The whole world seems to be going through a difficult time right now, as this pandemic continues on. And, the one thing we still have the ability to do, even while social distancing, is to get outdoors and go on walks. But there is a way to walk that can be even more beneficial when […]