An Oklahoma woman had to pay out of pocket for her annual cancer screening because the doctor would not accept her new Obamacare insurance, and no one else else would within 400 miles of her home.
Janet Grigg, a colon cancer survivor who apparently moved to Bryan County, Oklahoma to care for her aging mother, had signed up for health insurance on the HealthCare.gov website and picked a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan.
When she appeared for her appointment, Grigg got some unsettling news about her coverage or lack thereof under the Affordable Care Act, according to local news station KTEN (see embed below). “And when I got there, they had said to me, that the [insurance] card would not be accepted. That they had, in fact received a memo…” Grigg also learned that any future visits to that facility would also have to be paid from her own pocket.
Not only that, but apparently there were no other treatment facility options available under her particular coverage plan.
The staff told her…
“That I would not find a doctor within a 400-mile radius from Dallas up to Oklahoma City that would in fact take the plan that I had chosen… “
Apparently, after extensive telephone tag with the healthcare exchange and the plan provider, Grigg is in the process of changing plans, but she is not eligible for any refunds on past premiums or what she paid for doctor’s visits. Even more disturbing, a healthcare marketplace representative even admitted to Grigg that “she gets calls like this everyday.”
Although HealthCare.gov did not respond to a request for comment, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Oklahoma released a statement that read in part:
“Because of the dramatic changes occurring within the health care industry, decisions for our existing customers that were once straight forward are not anymore due to many new options available to them… Our members are our first priority and we do everything we can to ensure that they get the information, help, and coverage they need so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families. Because there are so many new options and plan features, it’s important for customers to understand the details of the plans they select…”
Apart from the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov (and similar glitches with state-level insurance marketplaces or exchanges) under Obamacare, millions of Americans, mostly in the individual marketplace, have already seen their plans cancelled and have been locked out of existing provider networks. Both employees and self-employed persons have already faced much higher premiums, deductibles, and co-pays under the new healthcare regulations.
Based on the added Obamacare premium costs and other factors, more businesses may be tempted to push their workers into healthcare exchanges and eliminate workplace-based insurance coverage entirely. All this has occurred even before the postponed employer mandate for big business kicks in as of 2015, which will result in major changes for employer-based medical insurance.
Despite claims that Obamacare would expand access to healthcare and decrease costs, more evidence is emerging that just the opposite may be occurring in terms of job-based coverage. According to USA Today, “More than half of companies (56%) increased employees’ share of health care premiums or co-payments for doctors’ visits in 2013, and 59% of employers say they intend to do the same in 2014, according to the annual Aflac WorkForces Report, based on a survey of 1,856 employers and 5,209 employees at small, medium and large-size companies. Given the economics involved, a significant portion of the employers surveyed are attempting to control costs by hiring independent contractors or consultants instead of increasing headcount, eliminating or delaying raises, cutting back on benefits, or reclassifying full-time workers to part-time status to avoid the impending Obamacare mandate. According to a study cited by the non-partisan Libre Initiative, Obamacare “will increase the number of uninsured and cause large price increases within the next few years.”
Has Obamacare had an affect, positive or negative, on your own health insurance coverage?