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Patient Survey: Docs Silent on Health Reform

Physicians could help patients navigate new system (July 2)

A consumer survey from HealthPocket.com finds that half of all respondents who have a regular physician have not had their doctor comment on the effect of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on healthcare. Of those whose doctors have commented on health reform, responses have been fairly evenly divided: 38% heard mostly negative comments; 33% heard mostly positive comments; and 29% heard neutral comments. Twenty-five percent of respondents reported not having a regular physician.

The October 1 deadline for health insurance exchanges to be up and running will mean consumers will soon begin weighing their options for health insurance coverage starting in 2014. Experts say those decisions will be influenced, in part, by whether their physicians will be participating in specific plans. According to the report, early filings of insurance plans show that premium pricing pressure is causing insurance carriers to cut costs and limit some plans to narrower networks of providers, so patients will need to understand what their options really offer.

The survey of 1,176 people was conducted between June 26 and June 28, 2013. The method used to acquire survey respondents who approximated national statistics on age, gender, and region was implemented by Google.

Given that a recent Gallup poll describes Americans as “more negative than positive about the healthcare law’s future impact on their family and on the U.S. in general,” the administration faces considerable challenges leading up to open enrollment. Whether doctors can be leveraged to assist in the roll-out remains to be seen, according to the report.

California-based HealthPocket.com is a free Web site that compares and ranks health plans.

Source: HealthPocket; July 2, 2013.

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