AFFORDCARE: State Regulators Investigate Lake Forest Doctor
The state Department of Corporations said Monday that it is investigating Dr. Claudio Bedoya and his AFFORDCARE health plan to see whether it violates California law, the Orange County Register reports. The plan offers a set fee of $50 a month, which allows patients unlimited office visits that include annual medical exams, complete with tests, and vision screening. Bedoya began marketing his plan as an alternative for "cash-strapped patients who can't afford individual health insurance" but earn too much to qualify for Medicare and Medi-Cal. Julie Stewart, Department of Corporations spokesperson, said the plan "sounds uncomfortably like a traditional HMO" and stated that Bedoya is not licensed with the state to offer a health plan. "This looks like something that we should be looking into -- and in fact we are," Stewart added. Bedoya, however, defended his health plan and said, "People are anxious for a program of this type. People without insurance often have to wait until they are very sick and go to an emergency room." He denied the state's allegation that his plan operates like an HMO and argued that it is "merely a clinic membership," similar to paying a membership fee to a country club or a gym. Bedoya added, "I'm free to charge my patients what I want to. I can see them for free, or I can charge them $100 per visit" (Crabtree, 12/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.