Californians are finding that they no longer have access to their favorite doctors
Consumers in California are learning that they are no longer able to see their old health care providers because changes to their health insurance coverage. With the launch of the state’s insurance exchange, called Covered California, many people throughout the state purchased new insurance policies. While many of these policies came from the companies they had been patrons of for several years, these policies did not include the same coverage networks. In other cases, health care organizations have refused to work with certain insurance providers, thus limiting their accessibility to those with insurance coverage.
Health care reform causes rifts in the relationship between health care providers and insurers
The Affordable Care Act was meant to make health insurance coverage more accessible to consumers throughout the country, but in some cases it has had a somewhat opposite effect. Some of the provisions of the law have encouraged insurers to re-evaluate their relationships with health care providers, making changes to their coverage networks in order to cut costs. In some cases, network coverage has been reduced to account for the popularity of low-tier insurance policies. Policies sold through the state’s exchange are separated in tiers, with the highest tier of coverage having the best benefits, but also being the most expensive.
Low-cost policies are coupled with limited health care networks
The federal government had been keen to inform consumers that they would be able to continue seeing their favorite doctors even in light of health care reform. For many, however, this is not the case, as their insurance providers continue to make revisions to their network options. Some health care professionals had warned that this would be the case due to the introduction of new low-cost insurance policies. Because these policies are so inexpensive, many insurers are unable to justify the costs associated with ongoing network support when the policies themselves are not bringing in sufficient funds.
Solution to this problem may remain elusive for some time
There may not be a simple solution to this problem. Neither insurance companies nor health care organizations are willing to budge on the issue and state lawmakers are not convinced that the problem is serious enough to warrant any significant action. Currently, those that want to continue seeing their favorite out-of-network health care providers will have to pay extra in order to do so.