California’s Physician Directories Removed Because Of Errors
The California healthcare exchange has taken down its physician directories, amid continuing complaints from doctors and patients alike that the lists of doctors and hospitals included in each insurance plan were error-riddled and unreliable.
Since the October rollout of Covered California, inaccuracies have posed countless problems: The lists described doctors as fluent in languages they did not speak; obstetricians were labeled as ophthalmologists; and physicians were falsely listed under insurance plans that did not cover care at their offices.
The directories were temporarily pulled from the website in October, after the exchange acknowledged there were problems with data. Revised lists were put online late last year.
But the exchange announced late Thursday that those revised lists would be removed “until further notice” because more errors were found.
“Until we know what’s causing these problems, the directories are probably better down than up,” said Jeff Rideout, a senior medical adviser for Covered California.
“These networks are very different, depending on which plan you choose,” he said. “You have to pick the right plan to get the right hospitals and providers.”
Mr. Rideout said he hoped the lists could be restored to the website, but he would not say if or when that would happen. In the meantime, people who enroll are being told to contact the individual plans to find out which providers are included in their networks. Beneficiaries have until March 31 to cancel the coverage they selected or enroll in a new health care plan.
California’s problem with physician directories is another challenge for the healthcare exchanges in states across the country.
In multiple states, people who signed up for coverage have had trouble proving they are covered and confirming which doctors are in their network. In Massachusetts, the governor last week that the state would pay a technology firm nearly $10 million to help fix its exchange.