Baby boomers find difficulty getting new physicians

Susan Dugas tried finding physicians online, but many won't accept her due to her age.
Susan Dugas tried finding physicians online, but many won't accept her due to her age.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Former Floridian Susan Dugas has only been in Huntsville a short time. Because of some health problems, her first priority was to find an internal medicine physician.

"The only unhappy experience I've found in Huntsville is not being able to find a primary physician," Susan said.

She has done extensive web research looking for doctors and has been surprised at the response. Unfortunately that surprise has not been pleasant.

"They're not taking new patients, or 'How old are you?,' and once I say I'm 61, I would say one-third of them said we're not taking patients over 60," Susan explained.

She said this is frightening because of her own health concerns.

"I've had diabetes type-2, and I've had high blood pressure and cholesterol, which have all been under good control with my doctor in Orlando," said Susan.

And, yes, she says she has insurance.

"I do offer the fact that I have federal Blue Cross Insurance, which is a good plan... and it doesn't seem to matter."

Susan reached out to us looking for answers. We contacted the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, and were told Susan should contact her insurance company for a list of doctors.

Niko Corley, Director of Legislative Affairs with the MASA, provided the following statement:

There's a lot of uncertainty in health care right now, and many insurance companies nationwide are narrowing their networks as a result.  For people trying to find a physician, the best thing to do would be to contact their insurance company and ask for a list of doctors they have contracts with locally.

We also reached out to the Madison County Medical Society, but they didn't have anyone who could speak with us on camera.

"So I think the major crisis here is that there is a problem with Medicare. If we're not going to be covered to the extent that other people are covered, I just don't think that's right. And it's a form of discrimination because of your age," said Dugas.

It is a problem, Susan thinks, which will become more massive as more baby boomers reach retirement age.

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