May 22, 2014:
The lead company on California’s health insurance exchange is widening the number of doctors and hospitals in its network following criticism by consumers, according to a report.
Anthem Blue Cross, which enrolled about 425,000 people during the 2014 sign-up period, added 3,800 new doctors and a variety of top hospitals to its plans on the exchange.
The decision bucks a trend among some insurers to limit their provider networks in order to lower costs. Moves to lower doctor and hospital choice have spurred criticism by consumer advocates and opponents of ObamaCare.
The newly added hospitals included Cedars Sinai and Keck Hospital in Los Angeles, and the University of California Davis Medical Center in Sacramento.
Cedars Sinai is known as a costly medical venue, underscoring Anthem Blue Cross’s move to widen consumer choice despite the budget implications.
Exchange enrollees will have immediate access to the new providers, the San Francisco Business Times reported.
A spokesman for Anthem Blue Cross told the newspaper that the change was unrelated to recent criticism of the plan’s network.
Several news outlets have carried complaints from policyholders who said they struggled to find doctors covered by their new plans.