However you look at it nowadays, it seems insurers and doctors are at odds.
As many doctors see it, insurers are putting the squeeze on them, and making it harder and harder for medical practitioners to earn a decent living.
As many insurers see it, doctors over the years have cut too deep into insurers’ profits, and insurance companies need to set limits on what they pay for procedures if the health insurance industry is to remain viable in the future.
And as many consumers—Americans with Medicare or private insurance—see it …
It can hurt being in the middle.
Do you remember when having health insurance used to put you at the head of the line?
Now it may not earn you a place in the line at all.
If you’re on Medicare, perhaps you’ve noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to find doctors willing to examine or treat you. If you haven’t noticed, consider yourself fortunate, because a great many Medicare recipients are getting frustrated over watching so many doctors bolt from Medicare.
What is making it so difficult to find a doctor who accepts Medicare?
Before we get into the specifics of that, let us look further into that conflict between medical practitioners and health insurers as a whole.
But first, let’s have a look at what was supposed to resolve much of that conflict and make it easier for Americans across the board to get the health coverage and medical attention they need.
The Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010 is designed to change the face of the American healthcare system. Upheld last year by the US Supreme Court, the ACA—widely known as Obamacare—aims to reduce the 40 million-plus Americans currently without health coverage to a much small number.
Insurance companies will soon be prohibited from denying anyone insurance due to preexisting conditions. With higher-risk individuals and groups no longer denied the right to purchase insurance, millions of currently uninsured Americans are expected to get healthcare coverage by the start of next year.
The ACA will also require companies having more than 50 employees to make health insurance available to their workers by the start of next year. Because many uninsured Americans are employed, it is widely believed that requiring employers to provide health coverage at reasonable cost will substantially reduce the number of uninsured in the USA.
That sounds good so far, doesn’t it?
It sounds even better when you factor in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Established by the Affordable Care Act, the Health Insurance Marketplace establishes health insurance exchanges in all 50 states, allowing uninsured Americans the opportunity, according to healthcare.gov, to “shop for health insurance that fits you, with low-cost and even zero premium plans for those whose income qualifies.” Healthcare.gov continues: “The Marketplace is designed to help you find health insurance that fits your budget, with less hassle.”
Every state is required to have an active Health Exchange by January of 2014. Individuals will be able to enroll beginning on Oct. 1 of this year.
The ACA will not only provide greater opportunities for many Americans to get health insurance, but it will require most Americans to have health insurance by Jan. 1 of next year.
Individuals opting to remain uninsured despite increased availability of insurance coverage will be required to pay a penalty. Although there will be exceptions for people of low income and people with certain religious affiliations, Americans of all ages will be held to provisions of the Affordable Care Act. While it is widely expected that some individuals will resist joining any sort of a health plan despite any threats of penalties, it is widely accepted—even by those who oppose governmental pressure on Americans to enroll in health insurance plans—that the ACA will significantly reduce the number of Americans who do not have health insurance. Some who oppose the ACA, however, predict Obamacare will not be long-lived, and expect many Americans who are currently uninsured mainly by choice to remain uninsured as they wait out the storm until alternative legislation replaces the ACA.