AMA Wire

Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2012

Practice News

Understand your Medicare participation options

A newly updated toolkit from the AMA can help physicians understand the three Medicare participation options for 2013. The three options are:

  • Participating (often referred to as "PAR")
  • Non-participating (referred to as "non-PAR")
  • Private contracting

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Medicare physician payments with pay cuts totaling nearly 30 percent scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, physicians have only until Dec. 31 to make any changes in their PAR or non-PAR status for 2013, while decisions to do private contracting can be made at the beginning of each quarter.

The AMA's newly updated Medicare Participation Kit provides resources to help you understand your options, select your participation status and follow-up with your patients accordingly.

In addition to an informational guide offering detailed explanations of the three Medicare participation options, the kit includes frequently asked questions and a revenue calculator to help physicians estimate how much their total revenue from seeing Medicare patients would change if they were to switch their status from Medicare PAR to non-PAR.

Sample documents, such as template letters and a phone script, can help physicians communicate any status changes to their Medicare patients.

AMA addressing practice issues with UnitedHealthcare

Do you have an administrative issue you'd like the AMA and UnitedHealthcare to work together to improve? Send an email to the AMA Practice Management Center to share your ideas.

For the last five years, the AMA has been collaborating with other medical associations and UnitedHealthcare to simplify the administrative relationship between the insurer and physician practices. This collaboration has led to real improvements, including:

  • Increased support and guidance for physicians through UnitedHealthcare's local physician support structures.
  • Better streamlined physician communications from UnitedHealthcare, including advance notice of major policy and other changes.
  • A newly downloadable fee schedule that lists the insurer's commercial rates.
  • An improved format and methodology for UnitedHealthcare's Premium Designation program.

Since this collaboration began, more than 55 issues have been resolved. Read a new brochure to learn more about how these groups are working together to help reduce the time physician practices must spend on insurer-related administrative tasks.