NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Shopping Blind on the Health Care Exchanges

November 13, 2013

The Obama administration has been claiming that insurance companies will be competing for your dollars under the Affordable Care Act, but apparently they haven't surveyed the nation's top hospitals, says Watchdog correspondent Tori Richards.

Americans who sign up for ObamaCare will be getting a big surprise if they expect to access premium health care that may have been previously covered under their personal policies. Most of the top hospitals will accept insurance from just one or two companies operating under ObamaCare.

  • looked at the top 18 hospitals nationwide as ranked by U.S. News and World Report for 2013-2014.
  • They contacted each hospital to determine their contracts and talked to several insurance companies, as well.
  • The result of their investigation: Many top hospitals are simply opting out of ObamaCare.

Chances are the individual plan you purchased outside ObamaCare would allow you to go to these facilities.

  • For example, fourth-ranked Cleveland Clinic accepts dozens of insurance plans if you buy one on your own. But go through ObamaCare and you have just one choice: Medical Mutual of Ohio.
  • A few, like No. 1-rated Johns Hopkins in Maryland, are mandated under state law to accept all insurance companies.
  • Other than that, the hospital with the largest number of insurance companies is University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland with just four.
  • Fully 11 of the 18 hospitals had just one or two carriers.

Consumers, too, will struggle with the new system. Many exchanges don't even list the insurance companies on their websites. Some that do, like California, don't provide names of doctors or hospitals.

"In many cases, consumers are shopping blind when it comes to what doctors and hospitals are included in their ObamaCare exchange plans," says Josh Archambault, senior fellow with the think tank Foundation for Government Accountability. "These patients will be in for a rude awakening once they need care, and get stuck with a big bill for going out-of-network without realizing it."

Source: Tori Richards, "Top Hospitals Opt out of ObamaCare,", November 4, 2013.


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