Buyer beware: your doctor could be using Walmart medical coverage to cover costs of their own.
A new study from the Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that a small number of doctors may be taking advantage of the health insurance program to cover the cost of their doctors’ own care, a practice known as the “co-pay.”
The report found that a few of the more than 1,300 doctors and hospitals who responded to the Kaiser Health Tracking Study received payments from Walmart’s health insurance company, Aetna, for the services they provided.
This was a subset of health insurance premiums for which the insurers were required to pay.
The doctors and hospital’s billing information was used to calculate the doctors’ total out-of-pocket spending, according to the study.
Walmart’s co-pay is not mandatory, but the company typically covers the majority of the cost for its medical coverage, Kaiser said.
It is unclear what, if any, reimbursement the doctors received for the out- of-pocket expenses.
According to the report, AETna is paying a total of $1.4 million for the care that Aetan doctors provided in 2015.
It also estimated that Walmart has paid $500,000 for services that AETan doctors billed the company in the previous year.
The company said it has no way of knowing whether these reimbursements are legitimate, and that it has not been served with any of the reimbursements.
The study also found that about two-thirds of the doctors and more than 90 percent of the hospitals were paying at least some of their health insurance out-pocket.
About 12 percent of doctors and nearly 15 percent of hospitals had payments of more than $10,000.
The findings were released Thursday as part of a broader investigation into the health care industry.
Wal-Mart, which has a market value of more of $30 trillion, said in a statement it had “taken steps to reduce physician co-pays for health care providers in recent years.”
It also said that it “continues to actively seek ways to reduce the amount of money we pay physicians for their care, including through the use of reinsurance, other insurance and other methods.”
The Kaiser study does not include information on the cost per visit doctors make to patients, which is one of the key ways that patients can track out–of, in-network, out-patient care.
It does not provide data on how much patients pay out-Of-Network or Out-Of City doctors and how much money that doctors charge for each visit.
The survey found that most doctors were willing to reimburse patients for their out-in-network costs.
More than 90% said they would reimburse patients if they needed additional care, while less than 10% said the same of out-Out-City doctors.
In some cases, doctors were not willing to offer reimbursement for out-In-City visits.
Aeta said it would not reimburse patients who paid the full out- In-City cost, and Walmart said it was not responsible for out of- In City costs for doctors in the study, although the company said that doctors were responsible for the cost when patients paid in-Inclusive care.
In a statement, Aetsa said that “Aetna does not reimburse doctors for the full cost of out of city care.”
Walmart said in an emailed statement that the company does not have an estimate of the total cost of Aetn’s services, but said it did not reimburse out- Out-City care for most out- Of-City physicians.
“We have been committed to providing affordable, high-quality, high value health care to patients and to providing health care that meets the needs of patients regardless of where they live, and we are committed to working with Aetas providers and the American Medical Association to address any concerns that patients may have,” Walmart said.
“We continue to work closely with our partners to ensure that all health care is provided at affordable prices to all patients.”