LA Times: California’s ObamaCare execution has been something of a hot mess
posted at 7:21 pm on February 7, 2014 by Erika Johnsen
Because getting through the signup process, dear enrollees, was only the beginning. It was only ever going to be the beginning, really.
After overcoming website glitches and long waits to get Obamacare, some patients are now running into frustrating new roadblocks at the doctor’s office.
A month into the most sweeping changes to healthcare in half a century, people are having trouble finding doctors at all, getting faulty information on which ones are covered and receiving little help from insurers swamped by new business.
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.
Conservatives have been warning about the limited networks and fewer healthcare options that insurers were bound to use as a way to help control costs since before the law’s passage; some of the law’s cheerleaders finally caught on just a tad bit later; and now that the law has gone into effect, Americans are living it. And if organizing just the signup process through the website was such a shame spiral of royal bureaucratic incompetence on so many fronts, you know that trying to administer the actual healthcare system through it is going to be just as bad — as California also aptly showcased today. Again via the LA Times:
Admitting it gave some consumers bad information, California’s health insurance exchange pulled its physician directory for having too many errors.
Covered California made the move late Thursday amid growing frustration among both consumers and doctors over inaccurate information about insurance networks in the state marketplace.
The exchange yanked its online directory of medical providers in mid-October after acknowledging there were serious problems then with the data. It published an updated list in November. …
The exchange said Thursday that “while the combined provider directory was a useful service for many consumers, some enrollees located physicians thought to be in their plan, and subsequently discovered they were not.”
The state suggested that enrollees “who are unsatisfied with their provider network still have time to cancel their coverage and sign up with a different insurer” before enrollment ends in March — but I doubt that that’s much comfort to the people for whom signing up in the first place was a tortuously drawn-out trial, or for the people who are discovering that they cannot, in fact, keep their doctor. Or, you know, “if you want to, you can pay for it.” It’s a matter of “choice,” or something.