Newly Insured Face Obstacles with Exchanges

The newly insured will face barriers to receiving care as they attempt to prove to doctors and pharmacists that they have coverage through the exchanges. In addition, many of those same patients are having difficulty in understanding which doctors are included in their network plans.

The newly insured will face barriers to receiving care as they attempt to prove to doctors and pharmacists that they have coverage through the exchanges. In addition, many of those same patients are having difficulty in understanding which doctors are included in their network plans.

“The system wasn’t really built to handle this kind of glut of new patients,” said Dr Curtis Miyamoto, a radiation oncologist at Temple University Hospital and president of the Philadelphia County Medical Society. “So it’s resulting in us having some delays in getting people verified, and therefore delays in their care.”

A WellPoint representative said they receive up to a million calls a day from consumers and providers with questions, where typically they might receive a million calls in a month. The influx of inquiries makes it difficult for providers to reach insurance companies to confirm enrollment, as well as for consumers to pay their first month’s premium.

The problems enrollees are having with the exchanges are not the only troubling findings. Another recent report found that Maryland state officials knew for more than a year that their health insurance exchange might have problems upon launching. Health and Human Services (HHS) continues to address Healthcare.gov issues, assuring that the kinks in the exchanges will work themselves out.

“We won’t stop improving HealthCare.gov until its doors are wide open, and at the end of the six-month open enrollment, millions of Americans gain affordable coverage,” said HHS spokeswoman Joanne Peters.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius added, “I will be the first to tell you that the web site launch was rockier than we wanted it to be.”

Around the Web

Enrollees at Health Exchanges Face Struggle to Prove Coverage [NY Times]

Maryland officials were warned for a year of problems with online health-insurance site [Washington Post]

Health care exchange still plagued by problems [USA Today]