She now has insurance through Blue Shield which she purchased through the state’s version of ObamaCare, Covered California. But Noam hasn’t been able to find a surgeon and a hospital covered by her plan that would carry out an operation to treat her seriously herniated disc.
While suffering excruciating lower back pain, Noam Friedlander called five hospitals and twenty surgeons but none of them could help.
The 40-year-old finally picked a hospital that was covered and resorted to the only solution available: she signed up for two credit cards to pay for the cost of the surgeon – a whopping $16,000.
While President Barack Obama touts the Affordable Care Act as the solution for the uninsured, only 1.4 million of the enrollees were actually uninsured previously to their signing up. Those who dropped their previous plan, or were dropped by their insurers, were left with the option of finding a plan through ObamaCare. These consumers now have to face the many glitches that come with the changes in the health care law without the freedom to shop for a plan that fits their needs in an open market.
Like Friedlander, Americans that signed up for plans through ObamaCare are more likely to find many obstacles when looking for the same variety of hospitals and doctors they once had access to through their previous plans.
The Affordable Care Act not only forced Friedlander to search several doctors and hospitals before finding a solution to her problem, it also kept her in pain for longer than necessary. Because of the lack of options, she’s now indebted. Wasn’t ObamaCare supposed to stop people from racking up debt and risking bankruptcy to pay for their health care? The ACA “facts” website still says this:
Ensure access to health insurance and protect against unaffordable out-of-pocket costs by prohibiting insurers from placing lifetime limits on medical care, prohibiting insurers from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions, and prohibiting discriminatory premium rates based on health status or gender.
Because insurance companies are now required to forbid the denial of coverage to any consumer with a pre-existing condition, their costs have been rising. In response to this issue created by the ObamaCare mandate, Blue Shield had to lower their payments to doctors and hospitals by 30 percent, which resulted in a major reduction in the number of hospitals and surgeons that are covered by this particular insurer.
As a result, Friedlander was denied full coverage of an operation she desperately needed because Blue Shield was forced to cut costs after ObamaCare kicked in.
Other insurers are also offering fewer options of hospitals and surgeons to consumers since they are being forced to cut costs.
Consumers have been flooding insurers with complaints associated with the lack of options when it comes to hospitals and doctors, but while this problem was a direct result of the law’s very strict requirements, the Obama administration responded by coming up with new standards that now force insurance companies to provide a greater variety of doctors and hospitals to consumers.
Noam Friedlander is not the first and won’t be the last consumer to suffer the consequences of having to rely on a heavily regulated market for her health care needs.