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Narrow provider networks can leave seniors vulnerable

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A Medicare Advantage plan that covers 35,000 beneficiaries in Southwest Florida is dropping at least 300 doctors and hard-to-find medical specialists from its Southwest Florida network, reports News-Press.com. 

The move could make it difficult for seniors to find the medical providers they depend on. Reduced government funding is one reason for reducing the provider network, the company told News-Press. But some, like Dr. Mark Gorovoy, a south Fort Myers ophthalmologist, believe the comapny, United Healthcare, is using the national healthcare controversy as "an excuse to increase its bottom line." 

Narrow provider networks allow insurance companies to offer lower-cost health plans by using the lowest-cost services. Increasingly, their focus is on greater reliance on primary care doctors, and much less on specialists.

While primary care is important -- at some ages and stages, the most important care to help people maintain good health -- people depend more on specialists as they age. The 92-year-old mother of Cape Coral resident Joseph Ryan was among those who are losing their specialists in the more restricted network; in her case, her regular dermatologist, orthopedist and gastroenterologist. Read the story.

 

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