Obamacare

Obamacare Brings Limited Choices, Tightened Restrictions to Health Coverage

Hope for change

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This fall, Indiana's new online health-insurance marketplace will present some tough choices for consumers like John Nowak, who will be able to pick a plan from his current insurer—or go for one that includes his primary-care doctor.

That is because Mr. Nowak's current insurer won't include Indiana's biggest health-care provider, 19-hospital Indiana University Health, in the plans it sells on the consumer exchange. If Mr. Nowak buys a new exchange plan from WellPoint Inc.'s WLP -0.41% Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, he will generally have to pay the cost out of his own pocket if he sees the system's doctors, because they aren't in the network.

Mr. Nowak, a 48-year-old Indianapolis medical-spa owner, likes WellPoint. But he has been seeing an Indiana University-affiliated physician for five years, and "when you get a trust with a doctor, you want to stick with them," he said.

Similar situations are likely to occur around the country, as details emerge about the coverage available through the new consumer marketplaces created by the federal health law. Many of the plans will include relatively few choices of doctors and hospitals. In some cases, plans will layer on other limits, such as requirements that patients get referrals to see specialists, or obtain insurer authorization before pricey procedures.

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  1. This isn’t exactly news is it? When the Chosen One said “If you like your doctor, you can keep seeing him.” We knew he was lying because his lips were moving, so we all assumed he meant “If you like your doctor…TOUGH LUCK!!! (Evil Laugh)”

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