Surgeon Reimbursements in Maxillofacial Trauma Surgery: Effect of the Affordable Care Act in Ohio

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Abstract

Background:

Surgical treatment of maxillofacial injuries has historically been associated with low reimbursements, mainly because of the high proportion of uninsured patients. The Affordable Care Act, implemented in January of 2014, aimed to reduce the number of uninsured. If the Affordable Care Act achieves this goal, surgeons may benefit from improved reimbursement rates. The authors’ purpose was to evaluate the effects of the Affordable Care Act on payor distribution and surgeon reimbursements for maxillofacial trauma surgery at their institution.

Methods:

A review of all patients undergoing surgery for maxillofacial trauma between January of 2012 and December of 2014 was conducted. Insurance status, and amounts billed and collected by the surgeon, were recorded. Patients treated before implementation of the Affordable Care Act were compared to those treated after.

Results:

Five hundred twenty-three patients were analyzed. Three hundred thirty-four underwent surgery before implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and 189 patients underwent surgery after. After implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the proportion of uninsured decreased (27.2 percent to 11.1 percent; p < 0.001) and the proportion of patients on Medicaid increased (7.8 percent to 25.4 percent; p < 0.001). Overall surgeon reimbursement rate increased from 14.3 percent to 19.8 percent (p < 0.001).

Conclusions:

After implementation of the Affordable Care Act, we observed a significant reduction in the proportion of maxillofacial trauma patients who were uninsured. Surgeons’ overall reimbursement rate increased. These trends should be followed over a longer term to determine the full effect of the Affordable Care Act.

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