THURSDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- The cost of dealing with
health insurers and payers is nearly four times higher for U.S.
physicians than for Canadian physicians, a new study finds.
The extra time and labor required to deal with health plans
annually is $82,975 for U.S. physicians and $22,205 for physicians
in the Canadian province of Ontario, according to Dante Morra of
the University of Toronto and colleagues.
U.S. doctors spend an average of 3.4 hours per week interacting
with health plans, compared with 2.2 hours for doctors in Ontario.
In the United States, nurses and medical assistants spend 20.6
hours per physician per week on such duties, compared with 2.5
hours for nurses and medical assistants in Ontario, the study
The study is published in the August issue of the journal
Most of the differences in time and cost are due to the fact
that physicians in Ontario and the rest of Canada deal with a
single health insurance payer, while U.S. physicians deal with
multiple payers, the researchers noted in a journal news
But they added that there are ways U.S. insurers could reduce
inefficiencies and costs. Conducting transactions electronically,
rather than by mail, fax and phone, would reduce some of the
doctors' burden, they said. Also, certain provisions of the new
Affordable Care Act may eventually reduce administrative costs.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about