« | »

AP: O-Care Won’t Let You Keep Your Doctor

From the always last to know Associated Press:

Limited patient choice next health overhaul issue

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR and HOLLY RAMER | November 20, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — After they get the website fixed, then what? Keeping your doctors and hospitals may be the next vexing challenge for Americans in the new health plans created by President Barack Obama’s law.

Obama promised people could keep their doctors. But in many states the new plans appear to offer a narrow choice of hospitals and doctors. Overall, it’s shaping up as less choice than what people get through Medicare or employer-based coverage. Also, it can get complicated tracking down which medical providers are in what plans.

"The next shoe is going to drop sometime after Jan. 1, when people actually start using their plans," said health economist Gail Wilensky, who ran Medicare for President George H.W. Bush. "Whether or not they can keep their doctor is going to depend on whether their doctor was chosen — or wanted to be — part of a plan on the (insurance) exchange."

How come the news media is always the last to know these things? We have been pointing this out since the exchanges opened. Most of the Obama-Care exchanges won’t let you see what doctors and hospitals accept their plans.

And we already know that most doctors are going to opt out of the exchanges, anyway. So, in realty, few people will be able to keep their doctors. And even then it will just be blind luck.

Concerns are already being raised from New Hampshire to Kentucky, and Chicago to New York. Narrow networks are part of the economic trade-off for keeping premiums under control in Obama’s health insurance markets…

Then why are premiums skyrocketing under Obama-Care?

The Obama administration says none of that takes away from what will still be a historic improvement for uninsured people…

Translation: ‘Obama-Care is better than nothing.’

In some states, it’s already recognized as a problem. It’s magnified in New Hampshire because just one insurer, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, is offering plans there through the new marketplace. The company’s new network for individual plans excludes 10 of the state’s 26 frontline hospitals.

That was a rude awakening for Dr. Jocelyn Caple, who works at one of the excluded hospitals, Frisbie Memorial in Rochester, N.H., where she’s president of the medical staff. She and her family are currently covered under their own policy with Anthem… "[I]t’s pretty shocking not be able to come to your own hospital," [she said].

As an Obama supporter, Caple is troubled. The hospital is mulling a lawsuit.

Narrow networks also are raising concerns in other states, and hospitals appear to be the first squeaky wheel.

In Kentucky, where three companies are selling insurance through the state exchange, six hospitals have lodged complaints with the insurance department regarding the network issue. In Maine, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s proposal to exclude six hospitals in the southern part of the state has been heavily criticized. The state partially approved the proposal.

In Chicago, Rush University Medical Center used to be covered "in network" by all the health plans offered in Cook County, Illinois’ largest county. Now, of the 71 plans serving the county on the state’s exchange, Rush is covered by only 38 plans.

In New York, one of the world’s foremost cancer hospitals, the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, is not "in network" for any of the insurance plans on the state’s exchange…

Mind you, the AP doesn’t even spell out what this really means. In fact, people will be lucky to find a team of doctors and hospitals and labs who all take the same Obama-Care plan.

And if they don’t, and one doctor or technician isn’t on the same plan, the patient could end being charged hundreds of thousands of dollars for treatment. Which is a problem the AP never even mentions.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, November 21st, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “AP: O-Care Won’t Let You Keep Your Doctor”

  1. dasher

    As long as these articles keep quoting Obama supporters being astonished by the changes, I will laugh my ass off while reading them.

    Smiling in Atlanta,

    D.




« Front Page | To Top
« | »