Unemployment rates have little effect on self-pay numbers, practice analysis finds

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With more than 38.6 million U.S. workers on unemployment as of May 21, Anesthesia Business Consultants set out to find how this affected the percentage of patients without insurance.

Key takeaways from ABC's analysis:

1. On average, 2 percent of patients seen by ABC clients from Jan. 1 through March 15 were self-pay or uninsured.

2. The percentage of Medicaid and uninsured patients increased through the fourth week of the pandemic, while the percentage of Medicare patients dropped as seniors elected to forgo procedures during the pandemic.

3. Medicare case volumes during the first seven weeks of the pandemic dropped 74 percent. Non-Medicare volumes, excluding self-pay patients, were down 70 percent.

4. Self-pay volume dropped just 50 percent in the first seven weeks of the pandemic, likely because many of these patients had non-scheduled emergencies.

"While it is true that many of these patients have not and will not pay their anesthesia bills, the overall impact on the practice is minimal and does not appear to be getting any worse," said Tony Mira, president and CEO of Anesthesia Business Consultants.

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