As a result of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, many formerly uninsured patients are now finding themselves with a medical card. Unfortunately what many are discovering is that having an insurance card in your pocket does not necessarily mean that you have access to medical care.
According to an article last year in Forbes magazine, less than half of all doctors are accepting patients who are insured by Medicaid programs for the poor and that number continues to drop each year.Those that are taking Medicaid often times have wait lists of more than three months and some providers even have screening processes in place to “cherry-pick” the patients they want leaving complex cases and the most vulnerable without care. Especially troubling in our area is the extreme shortage in primary care physicians that existed even before the Medicaid expansion, which has led to many practices fielding somewhere between 25-50 new patient calls a day- most of whom are Medicaid patients trying desperately to find a primary care physician.
To help meet this growing need, the Health Access Board of Directors decided late last year to accept Medicaid and open the doors of the clinic to these newly insured Medicaid patients who can’t find a provider. From the beginning our mission has been clear- to provide access to comprehensive medical care to those without it regardless of whether or not they have an insurance card in their pocket. Traditionally that has been the uninsured, but now it has become the plight of underinsured with an insurance card in their pocket but no guarantee of care and with many of the safety net programs out of reach because they are “insured.”
If you or someone you know is in a position of having a medical card but no access to medical care, please give us a call. We can connect you to a primary care physician who can see you through this transition and help to coordinate your care.
For more information contact the clinic at 304.622.2708.