California Obamacare customers are expressing outrage after finding out that nearly 1,000 California doctors were listed on the Covered California website as accepting Obamacare plans when in fact they do not.
Guda Venkatesh told KPIX 5 CBS San Francisco that the only reason he selected his insurance plan was because the California Obamacare website claimed the plan included nearby Stanford doctors. Venkatesh learned the hard way about the doctor bait-and-switch.
“Except when I started going through the doctors, each one and calling them up, none of them actually accepted the Covered California plan,” said Venkatesh.
He added, “The premise of Covered California is that you’re able to compare plans and see which one is best for you. But if they are presenting that they have all these doctors in network but they don’t, then it doesn’t work,” said Venkatesh.
According to the California Medical Association, the California Obamacare doctor bait-and-switch came to light when Anthem Blue Cross admitted that 965 doctors had been notified that they were erroneously placed on the Obamacare lists, even though they do not accept Obamacare plans. Anthem Blue Cross claims the doctors were “inadvertently” listed for a “certain period of time” during Obamacare’s open enrollment.
The Obamacare doctor bait-and-switch is merely the latest in a round of outrages over the pain imposed by Obamacare’s narrow networks–extreme restrictions to doctors and hospitals imposed by the unpopular healthcare overhaul.
UCSF Dr. Kevin Grumbach calls the phenomenon “medical homelessness.” California health care clinics say the problem is growing.
Rotacare clinic staffer Mirella Nguyen told CBS San Francisco that the low-income individuals they helped sign up for Obamacare are now coming back to the clinic complaining they cannot find doctors who accept the Obamacare plans they purchased and are now “begging for help.”
“They’re coming back to us now and saying, ‘I can’t find a a doctor.’ What good is coverage if you can’t use it?”
California single mother of two Thinn Ong said she’s shelling out $200-a-month for an Obamacare plan that few doctors appear to even accept.
“Yeah, I sign it. I got it. But where’s my doctor? Who’s my doctor? I don’t know,” said a frustrated Ong.
Narrow network Obamacare horror stories are beginning to crop up elsewhere.
In Staten Island, New York, a woman with a neurological disease that required four brain surgeries had her vital medications denied and all of her doctors dropped because of her Obamacare plan even though she says she was assured that the plan covered her medications and existing doctors. Dozens of Staten Island residents say the same has happened to them.
The Washington Post conceded in January that “Obamacare’s narrow networks are going to make people furious.”