Doctors can opt-out of Medicare by notifying the Medicare carrier that they will not accept Medicare payments and telling their patients–in writing before treating them–that Medicare will not pay for their services and that the patients must pay for the care themselves. Doctors who have opted-out can charge as much as they want, and their patients have to pay the entire bill themselves. The only time a doctor who has opted out can receive payment from Medicare is when the doctor provides a patient emergency or urgent care services and the patient does not have a contract with that doctor. If the doctor did not provide a written contract before the patient received the services, the patient is not liable for payment.

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