ObamaCare Will “Greatly Limit” Choice Of Hospitals

October 21, 2013

ObamaCare will mean soaring premiums for thousands of New Jerseyans in the individual market. 850,000 New Jerseyans will be losing their existing coverage despite President Obama’s false promise to the contrary.

Now we’re learning of another untold ObamaCare story: the federal health care law will severely limit the choice of hospitals signing up for the lowest-cost taxpayer-subsidized plans sold via the so-called exchanges.

Lindy Washburn of the Bergen Record reports (“Cheapest Obamacare plans greatly limit choice”):

The low premiums for some of the health insurance plans available under Obamacare come with a trade-off: Customers will need to use a limited network of hospitals if they want to avoid thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs. For Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, that includes just one hospital in Bergen County — Englewood Hospital and Medical Center — and one in Passaic County — St. Mary’s Hospital in the city of Passaic — for customers of its lowest-cost plans. Patients will still get coverage if they go outside the 33 preferred hospitals statewide in the giant insurer’s network, but will pay a much higher share of hospital costs.

Later in the article:

“The consumer’s cost-share responsibilities under Tier 2 are astronomical,” said Kerry McKean Kelly, a vice president of the New Jersey Hospital Association. For a hospital that receives roughly $6,000 to $8,000 for care of a patient with a heart attack and no complications, for example, a patient at a non-preferred hospital would be required to pay a $2,500 deductible plus 50 percent of the remainder — or $4,250 to $5,250 — with insurance.

Most people, of course, will likely gravitate to plans with lower premiums but will be in for a sticker shock if they are hospitalized out-of-network. The 33 “preferred hospitals” represent just about 30% of all hospitals in the state (112 hospitals are located throughout New Jersey according to the New Jersey Hospital Association).

So much for injecting choice and competition into the health care market. And so much for the “Affordable Care Act” being affordable. To the contrary, it’s anything but.

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