Will health care reform impact your doctor choices?
As many Americans continue to sign up for Obamacare, they may be in for a big surprise, especially if they hope to receive premium care from one of the nation’s top hospitals. Unlike coverage obtained from their previous personal policies, many consumers are realizing that their current doctors and hospitals may not be covered.
Although the new health reforms enacted by the White House have resulted in more affordable health coverage for many Americans, this trend has only impacted the overall price of insurance. However, when it comes to the caps placed on premiums through Obamacare, several insurers will offer a lot less cash for services provided by top-grade doctors and hospitals. While thousands of policies with varying levels of coverage exist, many policies cover a much smaller network of doctors and hospitals.
Recently, Watchdog.org contacted the top 18 hospitals across the country, as determined by U.S. News and World Report for 2013-2014. The investigation was conducted to learn more about the hospitals’ established contracts. Additionally, several insurance companies were also contacted. Based on the findings, Watchdog.org concluded that several top hospitals are opting out of Obamacare.
Nevertheless, many individual health plans purchased outside of Obamacare were likely to enable patients to receive care from these top-tier facilities. For instance, Cleveland Clinic accepts numerous health plans purchased within the individual marketplace. However, once an individual opts to buy coverage through Obamacare, the only way they can receive care from the Cleveland Clinic is by electing insurance through Medical Mutual of Ohio.
It’s not just Cleveland Clinic. CNN reports that NYU, UCLA and Emory academic medical centers have all limited the number of plans they will accept. Since academic medical centers often see tougher cases, they tend to be more costly.
In spite of this limitation, there are plenty of coverage options available through the state exchanges. In Ohio and California, there are a plethora of insurance companies within the online marketplace. However, two of the top-grade hospitals in these states (Cleveland Clinic and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center) only accept coverage from one company in their network.
Several state exchanges don’t provide a list of their insurers on their websites. For California and other states that do offer this information to consumers, names of doctors or hospitals are unavailable. Although it’s yet to see how well they will play out, health care reform law provisions have been established requiring an adequate number of providers in each insurance network. It’s likely that more providers will opt in once the marketplaces have been around a bit longer.