Practice Economics

Should Skyrocketing Health Care Costs Concern Hospitalists?


Median hospitalist compensation has grown steadily over the past decade, but physicians aren’t immune to the sting of accelerated premiums, copays, and contributions imposed by health insurers.

According to the Hay Group’s 2011 Physician Compensation Survey, the number of physicians who contributing to health insurance premiums increased to 68% in 2011 from 58% in 2010. The survey showed only 9% of physicians did not pay anything for medical coverage, down from 19% in 2010.

Moreover, the expected physician contribution was between 1% and 25% of the premium.

Dan Fuller, president and cofounder of Alpharetta, Ga.-based IN Compass Health, has noticed an uptick in candidates’ interest in their health-care benefits. “Especially for physicians who have families, health benefits have become one of the top issues in recruiting,” the SHM Practice Analysis Committee (PAC) member says.

Christopher Frost, MD, FHM, medical director of hospital medicine at the Hospital Corporation of America in Nashville, Tenn., reports that he is seeing an upward trend in employees’ contributions to premiums and out-of-pocket costs. He’s also observed colleagues becoming more selective when choosing their own health-care plans and how they use those plans.

Gretchen Henkel is a freelance writer in California.

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