“Jeanne Patterson really needs to see a doctor but had to cancel her appointment last week,” CNN reports. “Why? Because her new Obamacare benefits were not in order, forcing her to spend hours and hours on hold with her insurer, Independence Blue Cross:”
Many folks who signed up for coverage through the state and federal exchanges are running into roadblocks now that they are trying to use their new benefits. And though exchange officials and insurers have urged consumers to call their insurers if they encounter problems, many say they either wait endlessly on hold or get the runaround. Coverage for the first wave of Obamacare applicants took effect Jan. 1.
Patterson’s journey started New Year’s Day, when she landed in the emergency room for a stomach ailment. The Independence policy number she received didn’t work and the hospital required her to sign a form saying she would pay for care herself, though it agreed to bill her later. She then received an ID card for her HMO plan in the mail a few days later, so she made an appointment with her primary care doctor and a gastric specialist for follow up.
But when the 59-year-old went to her doctor last week, she was told he couldn’t see her because she hadn’t designated him as her primary care provider. If she wanted to be treated, she’d have to pay for the visit and lab work and request reimbursement. She spent an hour on hold with Independence trying to fix the problem and left the office without care.
Patterson, who has previously always had insurance, said she was not told she had to designate a primary care provider in Independence’s system before seeing the doctor. When she got home, she went online and did that, but learned she’d have to wait until February to make an appointment.
That was too long a delay. So, she called Independence three or four times a day, spending more than an hour on hold each time hoping to get a representative to waive the waiting period. But she would hang up before reaching anyone.
“I can’t get a person no matter what I do,” said Patterson, who is unemployed and lives with her husband in Drexel Hill, Penn.
I’m sure that CNN and the young singers of the Ron Clark Academy will be happy to help Patterson find alternative treatments, considering that the Time-Warner-CNN-HBO network and the young human shields they employed to shill for Obamacare went all in to sell Obamacare to the public in 2009:
They might have their work cut out for themselves, however, when the next round of cancellations begin:
When millions of health-insurance plans were canceled last fall, the Obama administration tried to be reassuring, saying the terminations affected only the small minority of Americans who bought individual policies.
But according to industry analysts, insurers and state regulators, the disruption will be far greater, potentially affecting millions of people who receive insurance through small employers by the end of 2014.
While some cancellation notices already have gone out, insurers say the bulk of the letters will be sent in October, shortly before the next open-enrollment period begins. The timing – right before the midterm elections – could be difficult for Democrats who are already fending off Republican attacks about the Affordable Care Act and its troubled rollout.
As Steve Green writes, also linking to Patterson’s story at CNN:
We went from a lousy insurance system of 50 little fiefdoms, where each state insurance commissioner practically colluded with insurers to keep competition out and prices up. A good fix would have been a proper use of the Commerce Clause to smash those oligopolies with nationwide competition, same as car insurance.
Instead, ♡bamaCare!!! added a new layer of bureaucracy on top the 50 little fiefdoms — amongst many other sins. The result has been to even further remove the customer from the care providers.
So it doesn’t matter how many additional people have a little card in their wallets telling them they have coverage; the actual amount of medicine being practiced will decline.
Related: NBC’s “Chuck Todd gets much-needed dose of Obamacare reality,” courtesy of Twitchy.com.