Are more doctors instituting annual patient fees?
Aah, another growth industry.
An increasing number of primary-care physicians are hitting their patients with a new charge: an annual "administrative fee" of $100 to $300 to help them defray the costs of running their practice.
It's not not clear how many doctors are charging extra fees, but the number seems to growing -- as are the fees, say health critics.
And some practioners do seem to be taking things to extremes. A Toronto doctor will face a disciplinary hearing for charging patients a $1,000 a year to receive care. And there are those collection agencies.
There are now at least four companies specializing in helping doctors collect annual fees from patients, according to the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Sounds fair, after all no one works for free, and you could end up paying less than you would in an ad hoc arrangement, say doctors.
But, “in some cases, it’s going far beyond the ostensible reason doctors need to charge fees and it’s about a separate income,” says Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition.
Patients feel compelled to pay annual fees to ensure that they continue to have the services of a doctor, Mehra adds. “Patients think: ‘If I don’t pay this, am I going to lose my family doctor?’ Or: ‘Am I going to be dropped to the bottom of the list’?”
Is that how you feel? Are you paying annual fee? What happens to this money at the end of year if you don't need these services?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: SMS | Oct 4, 2021 1:00:53 PM
I guess the average GP salary of 260K per year (155K net) is just not enough for these doctors. Poor poor doctors. The smallest violin in the work is playing just for you.
Posted by: Judy Kennedy | Oct 5, 2021 9:37:59 AM
My doctor sends me a request for this annual fee of $60 every couple of months but I just ignore it. I don't use any of the services offered and I refuse to pay for something I don't use. It is just another form of consumer gouging. For people who need these services on a regular basis, it may be worthwhile, but I don't like being harassed about buying into it.
Posted by: Office Girl | Oct 5, 2021 10:00:44 AM
I work for a doctor and I tell you I think people forget that doctors have significant fees they are required to pay each year just so that they have the privilege to practice (several thousands for specialists), plus costs for upgrading their skills (again rather costly) and the cost of overhead - far more than the 105K you suggest, and not covered by the government. The doctor is required to pay this themselves in private practice - which means, staff, phones, rent, office supplies, medical supplies (an exam bed is $2500), why do you think so many of them need to "join forces" to cover overhead? Oh then they have to pay taxes (like everyone else) and possibly very large student loans to cover the extra 8-12 years of training when they had minimal income. Not to mention the hours of UNPAID time they put in sending off referrals, charting, dealing with prescription issues, dealing with the business aspect of running a clinic, staffing, and dealing with patient concerns between appointments (not covered by health care in my province).
So while I appreciate that their income may seem rather large, and that sadly some doctors do abuse the fees (I do think $1000 is a little much - however I know many doctors who waive fees), we need to recognize the situation for what it is. Doctors, just like many other Canadians are trying to make ends meet in an economy that is struggling, and we need to take a look at how we can help ALL Canadians improve our health care system. We need to speak to the people in charge (the government) and get them to listen.
Posted by: Larim | Oct 5, 2021 1:12:51 PM
i am sure that i am already charged for visiting the doctor ITS CALLED TAXES. and if there is a extra charge at the office the doctor better get his act together and take appointments on time or i will have a chare to send to them for wasting my time.Over paid and underworked and they still want more.
Posted by: Denise | Oct 5, 2021 2:58:29 PM
So, lets see - $35 fee for a regular visit (that we pay for with taxes), for 5 minutes of a doctor's time, that's $420 per hour, plus the privilege of sitting for 2 hours past one's appointment time. Yeah, we all need to pay for these poor souls' overhead. Speak to the Government? Really???, the government is already using OUR money, and you want them to take more? No, restructure so that it is workable. I'm a health care worker and OUR wages have been frozen for 3 years!!!!!!!!!!! Doctor's cap to bill has been lifted, FAIR? I think not.
Posted by: Chris | Oct 5, 2021 4:21:03 PM
Denise and Larim,
I couldn't have said it better. Underworked, overpaid and arrogant to the sky. People have to take days of work off to take their kids to the doctor "Zeus" who doesn't bother too much otherwise. They prescribe some medicine (there are many times when it doesn't work) and treat you like a worm.
There are many other jobs in this world that require years of training, continous training and the pay is five times or more than five times less than what the doctors get. So, please, spare us with your useless comments. Even after paying for everything they have to pay, they still have a load of cash remaining in their greedy hands. They are for sure, besides vets and dentists, one of the most hated and despised casts. Honor to those who do their jobs well and know when to stop asking for more.
Posted by: Michelle D | Oct 5, 2021 9:02:45 PM
I see my Doctor on average 4 times a year...one of those times is for blood test results..the other 3 are for picking up prescriptions..its only if theres something on my blood work out of sorts that i would be required to go in a 5th time..i don't need to chit chat with my doctor...or email my doctor...i need him to prescribe me meds...doctors don't do house calls...and i never get blood test results over the phone like they do in the states...if my doctor starts charging me any fees i will start going to a clinic for my meds. I think those individuals that require the emailing...the callbacks...the coddling...should pay those fees...the rest of us normal folk who require "the usual" should not have to pay them. Like many of the posters have listed here...thats what our taxes are for.
Posted by: just curious | Oct 5, 2021 11:08:32 PM
Heck, I see my gp once a year, and I set up the paperwork for blood tests, etc. myself. A receptionist hands me the form and away I go. That way the lab work is done before my md visit, who has a way of not listening to my concerns, but yet scribbles out a prescription for something I don't have, don't need, and that has been known to shut down all major organs. Without even checking for the conditions that would guarantee shut down. And all this at a record time of 4 minutes and 32 seconds the last time!
No way I'm paying a fee for that! I already pay too much for this kind of 'so called' doctoring in my taxes!
Did you know, to say no thanks to a flu shot is to refuse treatment?
I'll fix myself for less and go when it's my time. Not when some guy with a god complex says so.
Posted by: mrmischief | Oct 5, 2021 11:08:44 PM
Doctors charging additional fees? Just another sign the medical system is a mess....and that the LIE-BERAL government needs to be replaced! The government COULD PAY MORE to doctors IF they decided to collect the annual health fee from the swinish civil service. Most people pay at least $1000.00 per year for that in a special government levy....but of course its really only `special` for those who dont get a government cheque! Get a good look at the big fat ZERO health levy your post man, garbage collector, hydro worker and Revenue Canada agent pay for the health levy! Thats right....its in ALL their collective agreements.....was put in BEFORE Dalton (Premier Pinnochio) McGinty implimented the health levy that was supposed to save health care for all of us and is now being used to ensure gold plated service for a special few `friends of government`!!!!! ENJOY your good health.....most of you cannot afford to get sick!
Posted by: Elmo | Oct 9, 2021 12:36:24 PM
@mrmischief... you're an imbecile. The annual health fee is taken from your yearly federal income tax return,,, NOT your paycheque... and is calculated based on your taxable income. As an employee of the public service and since McGuinty instituted the tax, I have paid either a $600 or $750. per year health fee on my annual tax return. Therefore, as an Ontario resident and a public servant, I am NOT immune from the fee. Feel free to vote for the Green Party and see what kind of environmental taxes you'll pay for krap you really won't need.
Posted by: Trixie | Oct 12, 2021 1:29:12 PM
Annual fee? Now that's something I haven't heard of. I've heard of implementing fees "per visit." This I agree with. It would stop some ppl from running to the doctor on MY taxes for every bleeping little thing. (If you get a cut, put a bandaid on it. If you get a cold, go buy some medicine at your local store.) I'm in my 40's and haven't been to a doctor in over a decade. I went for my pregnancies, that was it. I take good care of myself. Doctors are nothing special, and the quicker Canadians realize this, the faster my taxes will go down. (I'm looking forward to that day. Maybe it's just a pipe dream.)