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ER physicians, wanting more more money, denounce Cigna ad

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Some real emergency department physicians are angry about Cigna’s recent “TV doctors” ad campaign that uses humor to encourage Americans to get annual checkups. The real physicians want more money from insurers.

Cigna spent  $9 million on the campaign, which featured well-known actors, such as Patrick Dempsey and Alan Alda, making fun of their roles on medical shows. The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) said that the money “would be better spent on patients” by increasing money to be paid to  emergency medical care.

The median annual emergency physician salary this year is $264,949,   with a range usually between $225,805-$310,341. U.S, physicians remain by far the highest paid in the world.

The ER physicians complain that insurers, by narrowing networks and raising deductibles and premiums,  are “exploiting” federal law that requires emergency departments to treat all patients, regardless of ability to pay. ACEP President Rebecca Parker, M.D., said.  “Emergency physicians are there for their patients 24 hours a day, every day of the year. We can’t say the same for the insurance industry.”

In May, the organization sued the Department of Health and Human Services over federal rules that  the group asserted would lead to insufficient payments  to  physicians to provide out-of-network emergency care. It has also done  research that indicates that insured patients delay care because of high out-of-pocket costs and subsequently end up in the ER.

To read a FierceHealthcare piece on this controversy, please hit this link.

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