Obamacare patients are discovering that many doctors, hospitals, and top cancer centers do not accept the plans they purchased.
“It’s so frustrating,” Terri Durheim of Enid, Okla., told CNN. “It’s not doing me a lot of good.”
Durheim is not alone. Obamacare’s so-called “narrow networks” are designed to limit customer choices to push patients into cheaper choices in an effort to control costs. Earlier this year Washington Post health writer Sarah Kliff warned that “Obamacare’s narrow networks are going to make people furious – but they might control costs.” A McKinsey and Co. study finds that more than one in three (38%) Obamacare plans permit patients to select from just 30% of the largest 20 hospitals in their geographic region.
For patients like Durheim, the reality of Obamacare’s slender options is forcing hard choices. Her son’s serious heart condition means she needs a pediatric cardiologist nearby. However, the nearest doctor her Obamacare plan covers is over an hour away.
“Obviously we’d have to pay out of pocket and go here in town, but that defeats the purpose of insurance,” says Durheim.