More Doctors Charging Fees for Services That Used to Be Free

By Staff | February 15, 2012 | 11:55 AM EST

( - A growing number of doctors are charging separate fees for services that used to be free, just as airlines and banks are doing, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

Physicians say their incomes are being squeezed because of the weak economy, which has many people skipping office visits, and as insurers tighten payments.

Some doctors charge fees -- one as high as $200 -- for seeing a patient without an appointment. Others charge fees for copying medical records, sending medical advice by email, and installment billing, the newspaper reported.

Insurance does not cover the fees.

"Doctors want to take care of their patients and do the right thing, but they have overhead to cover. In some cases you have to pass along the costs to the patients," the Sun Sentinel quoted one medical practice CEO as saying.