|By Winthrop Quigley, Albuquerque Journal, N.M.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
When Lovelace Health Plan stops paying for care given to most patients of
"To me, this is incredible," said
"She's got 50 years of medical records and people who know her," Rael said. "The doctors talk to each other and know her. How would you be able to rebuild rapport in a short period of time? It's unfathomable that we live in a time when you can just be shoved off."
Thomas has had Lovelace insurance since the 1970s.
Some plan members actually won't have a choice and will be forced to change physicians. Their employers signed Lovelace contracts that don't expire until next year. Forced to change doctors
Each company has argued its case in full-page newspaper advertising.
Both have sent letters to customers' homes encouraging them to abandon the other. Lovelace has sponsored town hall-style meetings for members.
Telephone operators for both sides are fielding calls.
The state Insurance Division, which regulates Lovelace, has received hundreds of calls from worried and confused customers.
Lovelace says it has more than 210,000 members statewide and has 9,000 health care providers in
A Lovelace employee sat in the company's pharmacy off the
She called some of the insurers that
"There are really only two choices,
"The letter I got in the mail was confusing," he said. "I got on the phone, and it was more confusing." The chat in the pharmacy clarified things.
"If we stay with Lovelace the doctors change but everything else stays the same," he said. "Doctors change all the time anyway. It's no big issue to us. All in all, it's a simple maneuver. We're close to 80. We can take the change."
The dispute coincides with Sandia's open enrollment period during which retirees are choosing the retiree health benefit they will take for the coming year. There are several choices.
Sandia senior health benefits manager
"Sandia currently has
Presbyterian does not contract with the practice.
No longer 'seamless'
For Hoffman, the
The clinic offered one-stop shopping, he said. Almost any medical service he needed was in one building.
"I called Lovelace for a new primary care provider," Hoffman said. "It's been very frustrating."
Hoffman said his calls aren't returned, the company's website lists providers who aren't taking new patients, and other providers have long waits before appointments can be made.
"There is no telling when I'll see a doctor," Hoffman said.
In a phone interview he said, "I called them to see what the situation was and they told me anything Lovelace won't cover (before he can change insurance plans), they'll just eat it.
In another lobby, at Lovelace's
"These providers are gathered here to show their support for their patients in
Lovelace also recently bought
Ray Horcacitas is a 75-year-old trainer at the
"I've had to change my primary care doctor, which is a little bit hard, but it's nothing to cry about," Horcacitas said. "He is going to be my friend for life. It's not hard to change." Transition care
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