Under the Affordable Care Act, people with pre-existing health conditions cannot be denied health insurance as of 2014, when the law takes full effect.
WebMD readers submitted a number of questions about this aspect of the law. Here are answers.
Question: What are some ways to know you've joined a cheap
Answer: To avoid a time-consuming throat culture, the doctor French kisses
And by now many web-browsing patients and doctors have seen the
widely circulated memo by a fictitious squinty-eyed claims administrator
offering a cost-effectiveness analysis of a famous unfinished Schubert
symphony: "If all redundant passages were eliminated, as determined by the
utilization review committee, the concert would have been reduced to about 20
minutes, resulting in substantial savings in salaries and overhead. In fact, if
Schubert had addressed these concerns on a cost-containment basis, he probably
would have been able to finish his symphony."
The jokes attest to a pervasive anxiety about the
transformations of American medical care in the last 20 years. And they speak
to the widespread belief -- disseminated as conventional wisdom -- that managed
care has drastically reduced the amount of time a physician can spend with a
But now national survey data have turned up a startling
finding: The average duration of physician office visits actually
increased between 1989 and 1998.
"It is important for patients to understand that the
rhetoric about managed care is not necessarily true," lead author David
Mechanic, PhD, director of the Institute on Health, Healthcare Policy, and
Aging Research at Rutgers University, tells WebMD. "They have to evaluate
their care on the basis of their own experience and on good data that is
Using information from two nationally representative data
banks, Mechanic found that the average duration of a physician office visit
increased between one and two minutes from 1989 to 1998. The length of office
visits increased for patients in both prepaid HMOs and non-prepaid managed care
plans, according to the report, published in the Jan. 18 issue of The New
England Journal of Medicine.