I received a letter from my doctor’s office—an internist my husband and I have been seeing for more than 25 years—asking me to pay an “annual administrative fee” of $249 to cover his office costs for authorizations, precertifications, etc. I will have to pay this fee out-of-pocket because my employer-provided insurance won’t cover it. Of course, I did my research, and according to the American Health Law Association, this is becoming quite common.

So I asked myself, Do I pay the fee…or find another doctor? I like this doctor—he saw me through my diabetes diagnosis decades ago and many illnesses and procedures since. He also has been a valued adviser during my husband’s heart surgery and recovery. And given my experience with insurance, I know that it covers less and less of my expenses…and so I expect it pays less of his. If I decide not to pay the fee—and then have to find another doctor—the new provider likely will eventually institute this fee as well.

Right now, I can pay this fee, although I am not happy about it. I have medical insurance and a regular salary. But I know that many of our retired readers are on Medicare/Medicaid.

If you are notified about an administrative fee: Ask yourself if your doctor is worth it…are you happy with the care you receive…and if you will stick with that provider for at least the next year. You may decide to find a new provider. If you like your current provider: Don’t be afraid to tell him/her you can’t afford the fee. If he is compassionate…if you have been seeing him for many years…he might just give you a discount.


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