A Tale of Two New Yorkers: Blindsided by Obamacare

Monday, 25 Nov 2013 11:49 AM

By Lisa Barron

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While President Barack Obama has apologized that Americans are losing their health coverage under Obamacare and offered an administrative fix, stories unfolding around the country reveal how complicated the problems really are.

In New York, for instance, doctors as well as patients have been hit on several levels.

Manhattan ophthalmologist Patricia McLaughlin just found out that Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield cut her from its network of physicians included in plans for individuals and small groups, reports the New York Post.

Her patients who sign up for the new policies will have to use an in-network doctor or pay out-of-pocket for her services.

"There’s going to be mass confusion come January," she told the newspaper, noting that she expects to lose 20 to 25 percent of her practice.

It was the second piece of bad news McLaughlin received from the insurer, which had already canceled her plan for her own four-person office because it didn’t meet the Obamacare requirements.

"I have a double whammy. I lost my insurance. Now my medical practice is going to be losing patients," she told the Post.

Meanwhile, Beverly McClain, a 58-year-old Manhattan graphic designer suffering from stage IV breast cancer, is reeling from the loss of a policy that covered her chemotherapy treatments, reports the New York Daily News.

McClain and her husband own their own firm and had a group healthcare policy through the business.

"I was so happy with it," she told the newspaper, adding, "For cancer patients to be happy with their plans is very unusual."

Then came the letter three weeks ago telling McClain she had to find a new policy because the insurer was canceling its plan for businesses that contained only a husband and wife.

McClain could not find any policy on the New York exchange that included her doctors. "Why should we be penalized because we’re married?" she asked.

"What I’ve had to do is find an insurance company that’s not on the exchange because the exchange is poison for me."

McClain said she and her husband at one stage considered taking drastic measures. "We were looking into getting divorced so we can keep our plans. When you have cancer, it’s not a joke," she said.

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