YOU ASK. WE INVESTIGATE: Affordable Care Act Affects Local Pregnant Woman
By Gitzel Puente. CREATED Oct 31, 2013
PALM DESERT - Health insurance options for pregnant women can seem a bit complicated, and under the new healthcare law, it seems even more so.
Marissa Krause, a resident of La Quinta, says the pregnancy of her first baby is being overshadowed by the Affordable Care Act. She's a part-time employee who will lose her current health benefits at the end of this year because her plan does not conform with the new federal guidelines.
"I'm a little stressed and scared of what's going to happen. I don't have a doctor. I haven't seen one for a little over a month, and I'm going into my third trimester," expressed Krause, who is due in January.
After she received the letter from her employer about the cancellation of her current health insurance policy, she signed up for Medi-Cal as her secondary insurance. This, she said, has been the challenge. Her former obstetrician stopped providing her services because they don't accept Medi-Cal as a secondary insurance.
"I don't understand why they won't take me with my primary insurance now until December 31, and then just transfer into my Medi-Cal in January," said a frustrated Krause, adding that by the new year, Medi-Cal would take over as her primary insurance.
According to an internal study by the Borrego Community Health Foundation, only 23 percent of specialists in the Valley accept Medi-Cal. The healthcare providers must be contracted with Medi-Cal before they can accept that insurance for billing purposes.
This leaves a shortage of options for Krause, but she does have one avenue left. She could drop her current primary insurance, and sign up under Medi-Cal as her primary, but this process could take up to 31 days.
By then, she said, she could already have her baby...uninsured.
"By that time, we're looking into December, when I may or may not go into labor at that time. It's just bad timing. I feel like I'm stuck in between two policies," said Krause.