The New York Times reports:
Enrollment in Medicaid is surging as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but the Obama administration and state officials have done little to ensure that new beneficiaries have access to doctors after they get their Medicaid cards, federal investigators say in a new report.
The report, to be issued this week by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, says state standards for access to care vary widely and are rarely enforced. As a result, it says, Medicaid patients often find that they must wait for months or travel long distances to see a doctor.
The inspector general, Daniel R. Levinson, said federal and state officials must do more to protect beneficiaries’ access to care, in view of the program’s rapid growth. Just since October, the administration says, eight million people with low incomes have enrolled. By 2016, the Congressional Budget Office estimates, one in four Americans will be on Medicaid at some time during the year.
Twenty-seven states have expanded Medicaid eligibility since the passage of the health care law in 2010, and President Obama is urging other states to do so.The Los Angeles Times reports:
Finding a doctor who takes Obamacare coverage could be just as frustrating for Californians in 2015 as the health-law expansion enters its second year.
The state's largest health insurers are sticking with their often-criticized narrow networks of doctors, and in some cases they are cutting the number of physicians even more, according to a Times analysis of company data. And the state's insurance exchange, Covered California, still has no comprehensive directory to help consumers match doctors with health plans.
This comes as insurers prepare to enroll hundreds of thousands of new patients this fall and get 1.2 million Californians to renew their policies under the Affordable Care Act.
Even as California's enrollment grows, many patients continue to complain about being offered fewer choices of doctors and having no easy way to find the ones that are available.
Some consumers have been saddled with huge medical bills after insurers refused to pay for care deemed out of network. These complaints have sparked a state investigation and consumer lawsuits against two big insurers.