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Availability of providers

A key challenge for states in ensuring access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries is having a sufficient number of providers. Overall, physicians are less likely to accept new patients with Medicaid than those with Medicare or private insurance. Acceptance of new Medicaid patients also differs across specialties. A MACPAC analysis found that higher Medicaid fees are associated with higher rates of physicians accepting new Medicaid patients.

However, physicians’ acceptance of new Medicaid patients is only one measure of participation and does not indicate how many new patients will be accepted nor does it account for the number of Medicaid patients already in the physician’s care. Even when physicians accept new patients, making an appointment may be difficult. It is important to note that despite lower physician acceptance of new Medicaid patients, beneficiaries are still receiving services, as discussed above.

Additional information on provider acceptance of new Medicaid patients can be found in the following resources: