Covered CA enrollees not necessarily Obamacare fans

Covered CA enrollees not necessarily Obamacare fans

CoveredCalifornia1There’s a logical fallacy to the stories, editorials and social media buzz saying or strongly implying that Covered California is a triumph because it is doing better than expected at signing up people for the Golden State’s version of Obamacare. Just because they’ve signed up doesn’t mean these Californians are happy.

There were stories last year warning that physician availability under Covered California policies would be a problem in rural areas. But in San Diego County, where I live, I’ve heard quite a few stories like this one from a woman who lives in Cardiff, an affluent coastal community:

“I was probably the biggest cheerleader for Obamacare in San Diego when I first signed up. I had some rather rare health issues recently, so I chose the best possible individual Covered California plan, the Blue Shield Platinum PPO, at over $1,000 per month. I checked their provider list carefully when I first signed up, and all my doctors and facilities were on their list.

“But, to my constant frustration, in the last few months all my previous doctors, specialists and medical facilities have not renewed their contracts with Blue Shield. I have to go to Los Angeles for one of my specialists because there are none on my plan in San Diego. The providers tell me that their reimbursement by Blue Shield is less than what they receive for basic Medicare.

“I am trapped in a horrible situation, yet I am not allowed to change insurance plans until next year. This is ‘bait and switch.’ That would be illegal if I were buying a car or some other major purchase.”

That is from a letter to the editor in Saturday’s U-T San Diego newspaper.

Polls consistently showed three-quarters of Americans were happy with their health care before the Affordable Care Act. This fact both explains the heavy opposition to the ACA and shows why previously insured people who sign up for Obamacare will be inclined to gripe about the product they’re getting.

If they liked their old health care, and this version costs more, they won’t be happy. Especially if they face hassles of any kind, like the woman from Cardiff.




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