As 2013 draws to a close many patients are scrambling to complete medical procedures at facilities they will be ineligible to use in 2014 under the Affordable Care Act.
According to The Wall Street Journal, concern over anticipated higher deductibles in 2014 is also contributing to the spike in last-minute demand.
Some prestigious medical centers and specialists are not available under insurance plans offered under Obamacare, and many doctors have chosen not to take part in the system, the Journal reported Sunday.
Some 40 percent of participating physicians at Blue Shield of California, for example, have dropped out because they do not want to accept the lower rates prescribed by the new plans. UCLA's Ronald Reagan teaching hospital and its affiliated facilities will also be dropped under some Blue Shield of California plans, the Journal reported.
Overall, according to the consulting firm McKinsey & Co., 70 percent of plans under Obamacare will offer a comparatively narrower range of provider options than had been available.
The end of year "boomlet," as the Journal called it, in doctor visits and procedures was noticeable around the country as scores of patients pushed up elective surgeries, preventive colonoscopies and various scans. Thomas Priselac, the chief executive of Cedars-Sinai Health System, reported "a big spike in December."
Americans will be able to purchase plans that replicate existing coverage but often at significantly greater cost, the Journal also noted.
Some healthy people will face unwelcome surprises as they become aware of the limitations imposed by their new coverage.
"We have a lot of people who aren't sick yet, don't need any procedures and will have a rude awakening when they realize they don't have access to the providers they want," Joanne Conroy, chief health care officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges, told the Journal.
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