Good Luck Finding A Doctor For Obamacare In LA - Los Angeles Local News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Anchor Tony McEwing

Good Luck Finding A Doctor For Obamacare In LA

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Ever since its launch a couple of weeks ago, Obamacare has been plagued with one glitch after another with an overwhelming majority of Americans polled calling the rollout a big fat flop. The Golden State's new Obamacare health exchange, called Covered California, was thought to have had a comparatively smooth launch. But now comes word of a monumental issue that threatens to bring things to a screeching halt.

Purchasing a health plan is not a problem. However, the website does not offer a way to find out which doctors and hospitals are participating in the plan you purchase. That's a huge stumbling block to the success of the exchange. How can you purchase a plan if you have no idea which doctors or hospitals will honor the policy or where they're located? At the very least it's a major embarrassment for the exchange, not to mention a colossal source of frustration for consumers, not only in Los Angeles but throughout the state.

There was a tab on the website that was supposed to provide you with information on participating physicians and hospitals but it mysteriously disappeared about 48 hours after it went up. Exchange officials say the glitch is the result of "uneven performance." A  comfortless bureaucratic explanation for what amounts to a brutal botch up. One critic compared buying a health plan in California at this point to purchasing a pig in a poke. In other words, you're being asked to buy something before you even know if you can use it.

Officials say they should have everything sorted out and functioning properly by sometime next month. But even if they do, you may be very unpleasantly surprised by what you find. In an effort to keep premiums low, some major insurance companies are putting restrictions on the numbers of physicians and hospitals they're offering.  Blue Shield of California, for instance, has told one newspaper that it will offer only 50 percent  of its network doctors and 75 percent of its hospitals to those who sign up through the exchange. That gives new meaning to the phrase "tight squeeze."

Meanwhile, to use another cliche, California consumers now find themselves between a rock and a hard place. If you don't already have insurance, the law mandates that most of you purchase a plan by March 31 or pay a minimum $95 penalty. In the meantime, even Covered California officials admit buying a plan before you know what doctors or hospitals will honor your purchase makes absolutely no sense.

Tony McEwing co-anchors FOX 11 Morning News at 4:30 am and provides news updates for the Emmy award winning Good Day LA, broadcast weekdays from 7:00 - 10:00 am. He also co-anchors the FOX 11 10 am News and the FOX 11 News at Noon.
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