Some urgent care operators may be starting the new year with old worries about what the Affordable Care Act, known alternately as ACA or Obamacare, means for their centers. More specifically, there is concern that the shift away from PPO, in which patients can choose any provider in their network, to more rigid HMOs—many of which require patients to have preauthorization/referral to use urgent care or pay increased steerage—could hurt the industry. Where optimists hoped that having more insured Americans would equate to more patients flocking to urgent care centers, the reality so far has been that the shift to high deductibles, copays and coinsurance has made too many cash-strapped patients pay out-of-pocket for visits to urgent care. Savvy operators will look for ways to balance the uncertainty by expanding cash flow-friendly services like occupational medicine.
What Will ACA Provisions Mean for Urgent Care in 2016?