Could I keep my health plan and doctors?

People also asked this question before the federal Affordable Care Act was launched in 2013. Since then, consumers have had mixed experiences, according to a study in the journal Health Affairs. Some chose plans that included their doctors. Others unknowingly picked plans their doctors didn’t participate in. Now, a few years in, most consumers are checking with their physicians before they select a plan.

In a system with both private and public insurers, most of what changed would be how bills are paid. For instance, health services would still be provided privately, as they are for Medicare patients, and the government would pay. In that kind of program, many health plans could remain intact and patients could keep their doctors.

In a predominantly public plan, the state may negotiate prices for care, as it does now for Medi-Cal (the state and federal program for California’s neediest). Some doctors consider Medi-Cal’s payments too low and have stopped accepting those patients. That leaves some patients with fewer choices.