For the past several months, a lot of the Obamacare debate has focused on “rate shock” – that is, the fact the health care law’s regulations will increase the price of insurance coverage, particularly on younger and healthier Americans. But this debate has obscured another important issue – “access shock.”
In other words, Obamacare drives up the cost of premiums by requiring companies to cover those with pre-existing conditions, to pay for a number of designated benefits and to limit out-of-pocket spending. So to keep rates in check, insurers are paring down their networks.
This means that a beneficiary may have an insurance policy that theoretically covers a medical service, but could have a tough time finding an appointment or a facility that can provide the service.
On Monday, The New York Times confirmed Klein's analysis reporting, "From California to Illinois to New Hampshire, and in many states in between, insurers are driving down premiums by restricting the number of providers who will treat patients in their new health plans."
“Many consumers will have to drive 30 minutes to an hour to reach other doctors and hospitals,” Peter Gosline, the chief executive of New Hampshire's Monadnock Community Hospital, told The New York Times. “It’s very inconvenient for patients, and at times it’s a hardship.”
People who get health insurance through Obamacare will not be the only ones to experience access shock. Seniors on Medicare will find fewer doctors willing to take new Medicare patients, and those on Medicaid will will also find it harder to get health care.