You know it’s bad when not even your number one ally in the news media can keep a lid on some of the realized drawbacks opponents of Obamacare predicted would happen as a result of it eventually being shoved down the throats of the American people – one of many drawbacks that are coming to light in the weeks and months leading up to full implementation (bolded emphasis added by me):
WASHINGTON — Federal officials often say that health insurance will cost consumers less than expected under President Obama’s health care law. But they rarely mention one big reason: many insurers are significantly limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers.
From California to Illinois to New Hampshire, and in many states in between, insurers are driving down premiums by restricting the number of providers who will treat patients in their new health plans.
When insurance marketplaces open on Oct. 1, most of those shopping for coverage will be low- and moderate-income people for whom price is paramount. To hold down costs, insurers say, they have created smaller networks of doctors and hospitals than are typically found in commercial insurance. And those health care providers will, in many cases, be paid less than what they have been receiving from commercial insurers.
Some consumer advocates and health care providers are increasingly concerned. Decades of experience with Medicaid, the program for low-income people, show that having an insurance card does not guarantee access to specialists or other providers.
Consumers should be prepared for “much tighter, narrower networks” of doctors and hospitals, said Adam M. Linker, a health policy analyst at the North Carolina Justice Center, a statewide advocacy group.
“That can be positive for consumers if it holds down premiums and drives people to higher-quality providers,” Mr. Linker said. “But there is also a risk because, under some health plans, consumers can end up with astronomical costs if they go to providers outside the network.”
Insurers say that with a smaller array of doctors and hospitals, they can offer lower-cost policies and have more control over the quality of health care providers. They also say that having insurance with a limited network of providers is better than having no coverage at all.
In a new study, the Health Research Institute of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the consulting company, says that “insurers passed over major medical centers” when selecting providers in California, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, among other states.
“Doing so enables health plans to offer lower premiums,” the study said. “But the use of narrow networks may also lead to higher out-of-pocket expenses, especially if a patient has a complex medical problem that’s being treated at a hospital that has been excluded from their health plan.”
Duh. Hate to say it but … Toldjah So.
The QUALITY of healthcare coverage was something that was largely overlooked by the left during the course of the debate over whether Obamacare should have been passed. The big push – at least on the surface – was to “get people on health care plans” so President Obama and Democrats in Congress could look like they were “doing something” for people without health care coverage. Problem is, the “some care is better than no care” rule doesn’t necessarily apply here, when you consider – as the article notes above – that major medical centers aren’t included in the coverage options being offered by major insurance carriers. Not only that, but if you’re switching over to one of these more “affordable” plans because you can’t afford to be on your current one – guess what? You’re probably going to have to change your physician – demonstrating the lie told by this administration and its strongest advocates for Obamacare that you would be able to keep your same plan, and keep your primary physician.
Michelle Malkin’s Twitchy.com site documented cases of people who had recently received noticed about the “changes” in their healthcare coverage as a result of the coming full implementation of the “Affordable Care Act.” Malkin herself received a notice from her health insurance company that her family’s plan was …. being dropped, and that she would have to explore other plan options as a result of the “Affordable Care Act.” Wow.
Have you received similar notices? Please let us know in the comments.