Thank You for Waiting 2 Hours: The Dark Side of ACA

Late last year, around October or so, my endo, primary care, my wife’s primary care, OBGYN, and endo all sent us letters stating that they were no longer accepting our MarketPlace insurance plan. This led us to searching for something new. Instead of just choosing a plan, we asked what MarketPlace plans they accepted. There was only one common plan, Ambetter from Sunshine Health. Don’t sound familiar to you? That’s because it’s a Florida based insurance plan, meaning, it can only be used in the state of Florida. That poses an obvious issue, but more on that in a later post.

My wife and I had to plan our yearly checkups and needed to find a new PCP. After calling about 10 who were either not accepting new patients, or didn’t have any openings for new patients for a few months we finally settled on one. We decided that we would schedule back to back appointments so that way one could be with the kid and then we could switch. These appointments were staggered between 2:45 for the first and 3:15 for the second.

My wife checked in for the appointment at 2:40 and she also checked me in while I walked the kid around in the stroller with the hopes that she would take a nap. After my wife filled out her paperwork, she thought it would be a good idea to hand me mine outside so I could get a head start. This was now around 3:00 p.m. (15 minutes after my wife’s scheduled time.)

At 3:15, which was my scheduled appointment time, my wife had still not been sent back to see the doctor. At this point, I am become a bit irritated, as I continue to walk around outside in 80 degree weather.

3:30 – nothing.

3:45 – nothing.

4:00 – nothing.

4:15 – my wife finally gets sent back to get her vitals taken.

At this time, it’s now an hour and a half past her original appointment time and then she was sent to another room to wait after her vitals were taken.

Finally, at 4:30, 1 hour and 45 minutes after her appointment time, she sees the doctor. This is the same time now that I get my vitals checked, 1 hour and 15 minutes after my scheduled appointment time.

After all was said and done, both of our check ups, in an-office EKG (which came out fine for me), and a few lab scripts later, my wife and I left the parking lot 2 hours and 45 minutes after our initial scheduled appointment time.

To say this was a nightmare and a disaster and an example of some of the negative effects that ACA has caused is an understatement.

There are not many doctors that take MarketPlace plans, this just so happens to be one of them. Which means, all of the people who are on a MarketPlace plan have very few doctors to choose from which creates these enourmous backups.

What’s the longest that you have ever waited for an appointment?

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2 thoughts on “Thank You for Waiting 2 Hours: The Dark Side of ACA

  1. Back in the days before HMOs, EPOs, and of course the ACA, it was not uncommon to have to wait an hour or more in the doctor’s office waiting for the doctor. This was in part because the doctors took as long as was necessary to properly attend to each patient, also because there would be emergency walk-ins that might need to be seen before scheduled appointments, and sometimes your doctor might end up being called over to the (local) hospital for some emergency requiring his presence. (In short, your appointment was scheduled for the best possible efficiency, but once you got into the office, you were triaged and put into the appropriate slot based on the immediate medical urgency of your visit.) I think the longest we had to wait back in those days was four hours because of a combination of those types of emergencies.

  2. Four hours…wow. I appreciate the fact that the doctor likes to spend time with their patients, especially new patients, so they can get to know them as well as possible. What I don’t like is the chit-chat in between visits and patients.

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