Will Coverage Guarantee Access?

Even though the Affordable Care Act will provide access to health coverage for millions of Americans who were previously uninsured, many say there is no guarantee they will actually get to see a health care provider when they want to.  Shortages of doctors and nurses already exist and the addition of more covered patients is sure to make the situation even tougher.

If Massachusetts is any indication of what might happen on a national level, longer wait times to see primary care physicians and specialists could be just around the corner in 2014. Equally concerning is the willingness of family physicians and specialists to accept new patients into their practices.

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to have health coverage by Jan. 1, 2014, either through their employer or by buying it on their own. Two  big concerns are that an increasing number of people, unable to get appointments when needed, may end up in costly emergency rooms and that some who suffer from costly chronic conditions will fail to get the ongoing care they need.

A physician assistants and nurse practitioners continue to take on an expanding role treating patients, the situation will improve. Hopefully, the initial influx of people into the health care system in 2014 will become more manageable so that over time, coverage will also mean access to high quality, cost effective care for those who need it.

To view other articles from the SIP Fall Newsletter, please click here.

In cooperation with NAEBA

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