Another Obamacare surprise
November 8, 2013
As if the millions of Americans set to lose their existing health insurance coverage as a result of Obamacare was not bad enough, a recent survey by Watchdog.org has found that many top hospitals across the nation will no longer be accessible to the average person with a new “eligible” plan. In fact, many major hospitals are being excluded from Obamacare coverage altogether, which means that millions of previously covered individuals will have to settle for subpar care at other “in-network” facilities.
Based on the results of the survey, most of the nation’s top hospitals, including renowned facilities like Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, will only be accepting insurance from one or two companies included as part of Obamacare. This means that all the other insurance plans offered on the Obamacare exchanges will be ineligible, and many patients will be required to go to other facilities, even if their previous insurance plans were accepted by these same hospitals.
“Americans who sign up for Obamacare will be getting a big surprise if they expect to access premium health care that may have been previously covered under their personal policies,” explains U.S. News & World Report about the report’s findings. “Most of the top hospitals will accept insurance from just one or two companies operating under Obamacare.”
Included in the survey were 18 revered medical centers across the country, as ranked by U.S. News for 2013-2014. Investigators contacted each of these hospitals to inquire about their contracts with insurance companies, how plans would be handled under Obamacare and who would be covered. They found that almost every hospital would not be accepting the vast majority of insurance plans offered under Obamacare, because the carriers are considered “out of network.”
“This doesn’t surprise me,” Gail Wilensky, a Medicare advisor for the second Bush administration and senior fellow for Project HOPE, is quoted as saying to U.S. News. “There has been an incredible amount of focus on the premium cost and subsidy, and precious little focus on what you get for your money.”
Obamacare exchanges fail to explain which hospitals are included as ‘in-network’
Much of the reason for this oversight is due to the fact that public information about which Obamacare insurance carriers will be considered eligible at various hospitals has been scarce. Some hospitals, it turns out, still do not even know themselves which plans will be accepted, let alone members of the general public having access to this information. In other words, there is major turmoil on the horizon for patients who try to use their ineligible insurance coverage at these hospitals.
“In many cases, consumers are shopping blind when it comes to what doctors and hospitals are included in their Obamacare exchange plans,” says Josh Archambault, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Government Accountability, a think-tank group. “These patients will be in for a rude awakening once they need care, and get stuck with a big bill for going out-of-network without realizing it.”
However, politicians, government workers, union members and other “insiders” excluded from Obamacare will presumably still have access to these hospitals, which means that they will receive the highest quality care while everyone else suffers on the lower tier. This, of course, was most likely the plan all along with Obamacare — the elite will continue to have access to high-quality healthcare, while everyone else is forced to accept poor-quality, rationed “care.”
“It is the insurance companies [that] are excluding [people] from Obamacare plans just to avoid big cost increases and sticker shock on the exchanges,” writes one U.S. News commenter, highlighting how Obamacare is actually eliminating, not improving, public access to high-quality health insurance. “Providers are not opting out; insurance companies are cutting hospitals out, to cut costs.”
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