NYT: Obamacare 'Significantly Limiting' Patient Choices
On Sunday, the New York Times reported that "many insurers are significantly limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers" due to Obamacare.
As Times reporter Robert Pear notes, "having an insurance card does not guarantee access to specialists or other providers."
Health insurance companies say that under Obamacare's government healthcare exchanges, the networks will offer a budget rate version of what is available in the commercial market.
"The networks will be narrower than the networks typically offered to large groups of employees in the commercial market," Cigna spokesperson Joseph Mondy said.
Several large insurance companies have cherry picked the states where offering coverage inside the government's Obamacare health exchanges remains viable and have opted out of the states where participation is not profitable.
"Doing so enables health plans to offer lower premiums," says a new study by the Health Research Institute of PricewaterhouseCoopers. "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."
The new system will also mean lengthy--and potentially life-threatening--drives as fewer facilities are available to patients as part of Obamacare, says Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough, NH, chief executive Peter L. Gosline.
"Many consumers will have to drive 30 minutes to an hour to reach other doctors and hospitals," said Gosline. "It's very inconvenient for patients, and at times it's a hardship."
President Obama, however, remains proud of his marquee legislative achievement and says Obamacare is already transforming lives.
"It turns out actually a lot of what we've done is starting to bear real fruit," said Obama.
Obamacare's government healthcare exchanges open in seven days.