While open enrollment for coverage under the Affordable Care Act is closed, many of the newly insured are finding they can’t find doctors, landing them into a state described as “medical homelessness.”
Despite an extended deadline to sign up for health care under Covered California, some in the Bay Area are choosing to pay a penalty instead of insurance because of the cost.
California’s health care exchange promised potential customers they would have enough physicians to choose from. But some new enrollees, including an Alameda County woman, are discovering that their doctor choices are extremely limited.
A growing number of people who purchased health insurance through California’s state run exchange are complaining that they were misled about the availability of physicians in the network. Some are calling it a bait and switch.
After KPIX 5 ConsumerWatch revealed confusion over which physicians are accepting patients under Covered California, some doctors who did not want to accept patients on the exchange said they were surprised to find out they were on the exchange’s list of providers.
Officials with California’s health insurance exchange Tuesday said about 625,000 people have signed up for an individual or family policy under the federal health care reforms, but enrollments for Latinos and younger people continue to lag expectations.
Covered California says on its website that health coverage will continue to take effect on Jan. 1 but the payment deadline has been extended to prevent consumers from feeling rushed to pay recently received invoices.
Over 150,000 residents of California have successfully enrolled so far. California has more than seven million uninsured residents.
Less than a year from now, voters head to the polls for the 2014 midterm elections.
Representatives with the state’s health care exchange, Covered California, are holding a number of events at Bay Area libraries helping people enroll over the next two weeks.