“Cancer patients relieved that they can get insurance coverage because of the new health care law may be disappointed to learn that some of the nation’s best cancer hospitals are off-limits”
by by JONATHAN M. METSCH, DR.P.H., LLC
Apr 15, 2014 | 525 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In future posts on Doctor, Did You Wash Your Hands? ™ there will explanations of “narrow networks” – how your choice of hospitals and physicians may be limited in the plan you enroll in from an “Exchange.”

Recently the New York Post http://nypost.com * 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”.

“This is a marked deterioration of access to the premier cancer centers for people who are signing up for these plans”…Those patients may not be able get the most advanced treatment, including clinical trials of new medications.And there’s another problem: It’s not easy for consumers shopping online in the new insurance markets to tell whether top-level institutions are included in a plan. That takes additional digging by the people applying.

“To keep premiums low, insurers have designed narrow networks of hospitals and doctors. The government-subsidized private plans on the exchanges typically offer less choice than Medicare or employer plans.By not including a top cancer center, an insurer can cut costs. It may also shield itself from risk, delivering an implicit message to cancer survivors or people with a strong family history of the disease that they should look elsewhere.”

* to read the full NYP article, “Nation's Elite Cancer Hospitals Off Limits Under ObamaCare”, by Associated Press, highlight and click on open hyperlink http://nypost.com/2014/03/19/nations-elite-cancer-hospitals-off-limits-under-obamacare/

Note: This blog shares general information about understanding and navigating the health care system. For specific medical advice about your own problems, issues and options talk to your personal physician.

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