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In Most States, Primary Care Medicaid Payments to Increase

In 2013, average increase of 73 percent in Medicaid payments for primary care services

THURSDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) -- Under a health reform provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), primary care doctors who provide services to Medicaid patients will experience fee increases starting January 2013 for two years.

Medicaid fees are set to increase by an average of 73 percent in 2013; six states will have more than a 100 percent increase and Rhode island will experience an almost 200 percent increase. Fee increases of less than 25 percent will occur in 11 states, where pay is already more compared with the current Medicare rates; doctors in three states will get less than 10 percent increases; and, in Alaska and North Dakota, the ACA provision will have no effect as Medicaid fees already exceed Medicare levels.

On average, Medicaid pays doctors 66 percent of what Medicare pays. The ACA directs states to pay primary care doctors 100 percent of Medicare rates for primary care services during 2013 and 2014. However, the pay increases are only guaranteed for two years, leading to uncertainty about the future.

"The states that are seeing the high percentages are merely the states that have been paying such abysmal rates to start with," Jeffrey Cain, M.D., president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said in a statement.

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