People in California who have managed to conquer the glitch-ridden Healthcare.gov website and successfully enroll in Obamacare are now discovering that the headaches only continue at the doctor’s office.
Frustrations are mounting as some residents are having trouble even finding a doctor while others are getting bad information about which doctors are covered under their plan. These enrollees say they have received little help from overwhelmed insurance companies.
In order to keep premiums under control and also stay in compliance with the plethora of new Obamacare regulations, big insurance companies have “sharply cut the number of doctors and hospitals available to patients in the state’s new health insurance market,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
It’s the limited options and new insurance customers leading to the logjam at the doctor’s office and some hospitals.
"It's a little early for anyone to know how widespread and deep this problem is," said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones told the LA Times. "There are a lot of economic incentives for health insurers to narrow their networks, but if they go too far, people won't have access to care. Network adequacy will be a big issue in 2014."
More from the report:
Experts have warned for months that the logjam was inevitable. But the extent of the problems is taking by surprise many patients — and even doctors — as frustrations mount.
Aliso Viejo resident Danielle Nelson said Anthem Blue Cross promised half a dozen times that her oncologists would be covered under her new policy. She was diagnosed last year with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and discovered a suspicious lump near her jaw in early January.
But when she went to her oncologist's office, she promptly encountered a bright orange sign saying that Covered California plans are not accepted.
"I'm a complete fan of the Affordable Care Act, but now I can't sleep at night," Nelson said. "I can't imagine this is how President Obama wanted it to happen."
The consulting firm consulting firm McKinsey & Co. reports that 70 percent of new insurance plans under Obamacare cover less hospital networks compared to many existing insurance plans. It is believed to be a way insurance companies are trying to keep costs down.
The Covered California state exchange, which began enrollment in October, was not exempt from the frustrating delays and glitch-ridden rollout experienced by most of the country. The problems persisted for weeks, infuriating consumers.
Read the LA Times’ full report here.