Many new health exchanges don’t yet let shoppers see which doctors accept which insurance plans. Where exchanges do post the so-called provider lists, they often contain inaccurate or misleading information, some doctors say, including wrong specialties, addresses and language skills, and no indication whether providers are accepting new patients.
Exchange officials blame the insurance industry, where inaccurate and out-of-date provider lists are nothing new. “I don’t think we realized that the underlying data had quite this number of problems. Now, it’s becoming more transparent,” said Joshua Sharfstein, Maryland’s secretary of health and the chairman of its exchange…
The new health exchanges are supposed to offer a transparent shopping experience, including clear information on participating doctors. But in addition to providing wrong information, the lists may give consumers a false impression of how big the networks are, some physicians say. Several exchanges warn shoppers to ask doctors directly if they accept the new plans.
Insurers say that in some cases, doctors may not be aware that they are in provider networks for the new insurance plans. Some contracts allow carriers to move physicians into new networks or lease their names to other insurance companies, even without keeping them informed.