Patients needing urgent medical treatment in Virginia are being turned away because they can’t determine whether their Obamacare insurance plans are in effect, MailOnline reports.
Inidividuals who say they signed up by the Dec. 23 deadline to be insured by Jan. 1 are now struggling to show proof of insurance. Health care administrators are not taking their word for it.
“They had no idea if my insurance was active or not!” Maria Galvez told MailOnline, who was leaving the Inova Healthplex facility in the town of Springfield without getting a much needed chest x-ray. She was told the total cost of the x-ray would be more than $500.
Galvez said she enrolled in a Carefirst Blue Cross bronze plan at a cost of about $450 per month through healthcare.gov, three days before Christmas, but says no one has sent her a bill.
Another patient, Mary, a small businesswoman who did not want MailOnline to publish her last name, was leaving the Inova Alexandria Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia said she also did not receive her needed treatment for not being able to prove she was insured.
“I had chest pains last night, and they took me in the emergency room,” Mary said. “They told me they were going to admit me, but when I told them I hadn’t heard from my insurance company since I signed up, they changed their tune.”
A nurse told her that her bill would go up by at least $3,000 if she stayed an extra day. Her doctor let her make the final decision.
“Should I be in the hospital? Probably,” she said. “Maybe it’s one of those borderline cases. I have to think that if I were really in danger, they wouldn’t give me the choice.
Obamacare has seen a slew of critics and setbacks since its enrollment opened on Oct. 1, from online glitches to questions about people’s enrollment going through.
“We’re telling consumers if they’re not sure if they’re enrolled they should call the insurer directly,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Dec. 2.
More than 2 million people enrolled in health care plans during this first initial sign-up period. Healthcare providers have been preparing to deal with the confusion of verifying proper enrollment.
Dr. William Wulf, CEO of Central Ohio Primary Care told CBS News his physician offices will “assume that an existing patient is covered if they claim to be when they come in for appointments and their coverage cannot be verified immediately.”
However, if the patients require expensive tests such as MRIs, his Ohio physician offices will have to check with insurers to confirm enrollment.
Sources: MailOnline, CBS News, WhiteHouse.gov