7 specialties with greatest share of physicians opting out of Medicare

Psychiatrists make up the largest share of physicians who opt out of Medicare and enter private contracts with their Medicare patients, according to Kaiser Family Foundation.

Overall, less than 1 percent of physicians opt out of Medicare, while 96 percent of physicians participate in the program and agree to accept Medicare's standard fee-schedule amount as full payment for Medicare-covered services. The remaining 4 percent are nonparticipating providers — meaning they can decide on a service-by-service basis to charge Medicare beneficiaries higher fees up to 115 percent of a reduced standard fee, with patients accountable for the difference.

Here are the seven specialties representing the largest percentage of all opt-out providers in 2016.

1. Psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, neuropsychiatry   — 38.10 percent

2. Family medicine/general practice — 15.80 percent

3. Internal medicine — 9.90 percent

4. Obstetrics/gynecology — 6  percent

5. Pediatric specialties — 5.60 percent

6. Neuromusculoskel, osteo manip, sports medicine  — 2.30 percent

7. Orthopedic surgery — 2.20 percent

For its analysis, KFF used 2015 physician counts from the Association of American Medical Colleges and CMS' Medicare opt out data. Click here to see the full report.  

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