WARNING: It’s an insurance company that’s messing things up here, not the government. If you are one of my friends or acquaintances who dislikes the Affordable Care Act or, in fact, dislikes everything about President Obama, read at your own risk. It might change your mind…
Back in November I wrote about my need for affordable health insurance; about how I have an expensive, individually purchased plan with a high deductible; about how my current insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia (BCBS), is one of the companies offering coverage through the Health Care Marketplace; and about how I was reluctant to sign up because my doctors were not on their provider list for plans purchased through the Marketplace. That earlier post can be accessed here.
Wanting to stay with the same insurance company and hoping that BCBS would add additional providers, I paid my premiums on my individual plan for December and January and waited.
In the meantime I did some additional research and discovered that BCBS had no intention of adding more providers in my area. And if I chose an Obamacare plan through BCBS, they would pay absolutely nothing to medical providers and facilities that were not on their list. Online I found an article in the Dalton Daily Citizen, the daily newspaper from Dalton, Georgia which is located in northwest Georgia, listing many of the hospitals, large and small, in north Georgia that are not on the BCBS provider list and will not be on the list.
Closer to home, it finally sank in that the Northeast Georgia Medical Center, which is the large hospital only 30 miles from my home (I live in a rural area), would not be added to the BCBS provider list. This medical center is one of the best in the country, but if I had to have an operation, the insurance would not pay, and I would have to travel two hours to another hospital. The insurance company would not pay for medical care at this highly rated hospital:
Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) is one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for 2013, according to Healthgrades ®. NGMC is the only hospital in Georgia named to the list. Healthgrades also recognizes NGMC as:
- #1 in Georgia for Cardiology
- #1 in Georgia for Coronary Interventions
- #1 in Georgia for General Surgery
- #1 in Georgia for Gastrointestinal Services
- Top 5% in the nation for Critical Care
- Top 5% in the nation for Pulmonary Services
- Top 5% in the nation for Women’s Health
- A recipient of the Joint Replacement Excellence Award
BCBS has chosen not to have this hospital or most of its associated physicians as its providers on insurance plans offered through the healthcare.gov website. If anyone in north Georgia had to have hospital care they would have to travel 80 miles to a hospital nearer Atlanta, a burden on the patient and the family. Unbelievable.
So I decided I had been operating with blinders on by wanting to stay with BCBS, abandoned the idea of staying with them, and went back to the healthcare.gov website.
The other company offering health insurance in my county is Alliant Healthcare, a non-profit licensed provider sponsored health care corporation. A non-profit! Yeah!!
The Dalton Daily Citizen article had reported that “Officials at Alliant say exchange customers will have access to all the doctors and hospitals in their regular network.” A few years ago when I was still working full time the health insurance offered by my employer was through Alliant, and I was very happy with it. Providers then had included all of my doctors plus the regional medical center. So this morning, just to confirm for myself that the newspaper article was accurate, I got in touch with Alliant. Yes! The information was correct.
I signed up! I’m in! Beginning February 1, I have health insurance through Alliant. It will cost less each month than I pay now for private insurance, with a lower deductible, lower total out-of-pocket costs, and a full provider list of physicians and medical facilities. I could have had this two months ago if only I had done more research and hadn’t been blinded by the reputation of BCBS, a reputation which is now in the mud because of the way they have deceived their current policy holders and made it even harder for ordinary people to access medical care by trying to force them to travel long distances to get care from “approved” providers.
I am a happy camper! I am grateful for the Affordable Care Act which has lessened my health care costs. I am very grateful to Alliant Healthcare for offering plans that include both large and small hospitals, surgery centers, other medical services, family physicians, and specialists in all the small towns and larger cities in north Georgia. I wish others who are eligible for the tax subsidies that help individuals and families pay for these plans would go online and sign up. It’s a health insurance marketplace in which companies compete for our business (capitalism at its finest), and I chose the best deal, good health insurance at a better price.