Affordable Care Act Already Leading to Limited Access to Doctors & Hospitals
By Tracy Seipel
In an effort to keep premiums low, some major insurance companies are limiting the numbers of doctors and hospitals they are offering consumers.
Blue Shield of California confirmed to this newspaper that it will offer only 50 percent of its network doctors and 75 percent of its network hospitals to those who sign up for its exchange plans. Anthem Blue Cross of California will offer 95 percent of its hospitals to exchange customers — but only 60 percent of its network doctors to consumers, said company spokeswoman Leslie Porras.
… The thinning of health care networks is exactly what some critics of the 2010 health law had predicted would happen.
The reduction of health providers in some of Covered California’s insurance plans worries some medical professionals.
While it applauds Covered California’s mission, the California Medical Association, which represents about 38,000 licensed doctors in the state, says the leaner exchange networks could lead to major problems.
“Our biggest concern is: Will there be enough doctors in the network to see the new patients?” said Lisa Folberg, the CMA’s vice president of medical and regulatory policy. “It’s something we’re carefully watching.”