This study uses a simulated patient approach to assess appointment availability and wait times for new primary care appointments in late 2012/early 2013 by insurance status and state. Although most primary care physicians are accepting new patients, access varies widely across states and insurance status. Outreach programs are needed, not only to help patients enroll but also to identify practices accepting new patients within each plan's network. Tracking new patient appointment availability over time can inform policies designed to strengthen primary care capacity and enhance the effectiveness of the coverage expansions with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
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