Nick and Rachel Robinson were excited about the possibilities that Obamacare offered them when they found out they were expecting a third child.
“It’s one of those times where you hear the news and there’s this immediate sense of joy and excitement like, ‘Yay, a new kid. That’s awesome!’” Nick Robinson told NPR. But the happy news also came with a new set of worries. “What are we going to do? How are we going to pay for this? This is intense.”
When the option of the Affordable Care Act became available, the Robinsons believed it was the answer to what they were looking for. Nick’s company didn’t offer health benefits and neither did Rachel’s position as a wedding photographer.
“I was like, ‘Oh, here’s the answer! This is simple!’” he told NPR. “‘It’s a cheaper insurance plan, there’s no pre-existing condition stuff.’”
But the Robinsons soon learned the HMO Blue Cross Blue Shield plan they pay about $375 each month for wasn’t quite what they expected.
For example, when it came to finding an obstetrician in Texas for their upcoming baby earlier this year, Rachel said she called all 28 practices listed as acceptable options for their plan, but could find none to take her as a patient.
“Some would just come right out and say, ‘We don’t take Obamacare,’” she said. ”Or the best one was, ‘The doctor takes it here at the actual practice, but whatever hospital you use … does not take that insurance.’”
NPR noted that there were practices that accepted HMO plans, but the doctors rotated and Rachel wanted a relationship with only one physician.
“It was mind-numbing, because I was just sitting there thinking, ‘I’m paying close to $400 a month just for me to have insurance that doesn’t even work. So what am I paying for?’” she told NPR.
The Robinson family is not the only one to have reported problems finding doctors who will accept their plans, even though they’re listed on the insurance websites. A former Marine in California recently shared a similar frustration.
The Robinsons were told by Blue Cross that the doctors listed should accept the plan they purchased.
Given their frustrations with finding a doctor who would accept Obamacare insurance, the Robinsons dropped their plan and decided to pay $4,000 for a midwife and a home delivery instead, an option they previously rejected. NPR reported that the Robinsons paid for the birth of their child in April out of pocket, but filed for reimbursement afterward through a Christian-based cost-sharing plan.
“We’re so happy with where we are now, but this is not OK. And I’m extremely confident that, that’s not what the architects of this plan had in mind,” Nick told NPR.
Rachel gave birth to a healthy baby boy on April 28.
Listen to the Robinson’s experience with the Affordable Care Act in NPR’s report online.
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