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Plastic Surgeons and Health Insurance – Part I

Posted Jun 05 2005 12:00am

One of my favorite topics upon which to gripe is insurance. Plastic surgeons tend to dislike intensely the treatment of their work by the insurance industry. The reasons are pretty simple:

(1) We pay a ton in malpractice and other liability insurance.

(2) Our services for the most part are paid at a pittance by the health insurance industry.

Take into account a “pittance” is not relative to what you make, but relative to what it costs to stay in business. Collecting funds is not really all that special unless they exceed your overhead. This is not even addressing how long your insurance company drags out paying for anything or the denials and other BS. The bottom line is that I did not go to school for years and endure two surgical residencies to pay to work.

It is indeed ironic that the rate I pay for practice insurance premiums makes my overhead so high that health insurance payments are frequently “revenue negative.”

Surgeons in my region tend to “walk away” from real medicine as they get farther away from training as they see the fury of their accountant’s “red ink.” Losing money is not conducive to staying in business.

As I see bloggers whine about cosmetic surgery, I opine on how it is the revenue from that surgery that subsidizes my practice so that I can afford to take care of some trauma and reconstruction. Maybe I’ll show you pictures of some of this a little later. Anybody need an appetite suppressant?

I find reconstruction gratifying and it frustrates me that I need to limit that portion of my practice to make a living. My accountant would like me to do less.

More on this later,

John Di Saia MD

Want to read more of my health insurance editorial ?

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