A recent Wall Street Journal article noted: “An increasing number of practices are scrapping the traditional one-on-one doctor-patient relationship. Instead, patients are receiving care from a group of health professionals who divide up responsibilities that once would have largely been handled by the doctor in charge. While the supervising doctor still directly oversees patient care, other medical professionals—nurse practitioners, physician assistants and clinical pharmacists—are performing more functions. These include adjusting medication dosage, ensuring that patients receive tests and helping them to manage chronic diseases.”
Here’s a Q&A from Kaiser Health News:
“Q. My doctor added on a charge for a “chronic disease management” appointment on top of my annual physical because I have thyroid disease and arthritis. The doctor’s office explained that my visit was more complicated than a routine physical. I’m not sure I buy that. In my case, it only cost a $20 copay, but I was surprised that it was billed that way, and it could be a surprise for someone without the excellent coverage that I have. Can they do that? ”
Hundreds of new health insurance plans have been created to comply with the Health Care Reform (Obama Care) requirements. Price is, of course, a major consideration but you probably want to make sure you can continue to see your current doctor and use your local hospital.
Recently an article in the Albany Times Union explored the problem.
Recently the New York Post reported “An Associated Press survey found examples coast to coast. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of eight insurers in Washington state’s insurance exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center says it’s in less than half of the plans in the Houston area. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is included by two of nine insurers in New York City and has out-of-network agreements with two more”
“Doctors and administrators say they’re concerned. So are some state insurance regulators. In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP’s survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their state exchange”.
Recently a New York Daily News article was a first person story of experience with the health care system.
“My plunge into the world of ambulances, emergency rooms and minor surgery came without warning, like a trapdoor opening beneath my feet. One second, I was skiing along happily in upstate New York’s Adirondack Mountains with my son and a group of friends. The next, I was writhing on the slope in pain — having wrenched my right leg in an awkward, slow-speed fall. In the blink of an eye, I went from a healthy and independent 52-year-old to a trauma victim in need of a lot of expert help from a lot of people.”
A recent Associated Press vignette noted: “MIAMI — The first thing Michelle Pool did before picking a plan under President Barack Obama’s health insurance law was check whether her longtime primary care doctor was covered. Pool, a 60-year-old diabetic who has had back surgery and a hip replacement, purchased the plan only to find that the insurer was mistaken.”
“Pool’s $352 a month gold plan through Covered California’s exchange was cheaper than what she’d paid under her husband’s insurance and seemed like a good deal because of her numerous pre-existing conditions. But after her insurance card came in the mail, the Vista, California resident learned her doctor wasn’t taking her new insurance.”
Choosing not to buy health insurance as required by Obamacare will result in IRS penalties withheld when you file your income tax returns. But you will still get billed by your doctor, the ER and the hospital – which could affect your credit rating, and in the case of an expensive emergency hospital admission put you into enormous long term debt if not bankruptcy.
Recently NPR published FAQs on “Understanding The Health Insurance Mandate And Penalties For Going Uninsured.” For example:
“Do I have to carry health insurance? Yes, just about everyone is required to have insurance as of Jan. 1, 2014, or else they’ll be liable for a tax penalty. That coverage can be supplied through your job (including COBRA or a retirement plan), public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid or the VA, or an individual policy that you purchase.