January 30, 2014
Dear Mr. Bertolini,
With a deep sense of sadness, I must inform you that I will no longer serve as a physician for Aetna patients under the terms of our contractual agreement, which you most recently unilaterally changed.
I have been privileged and honored to care for thousands of patients covered by Aetna policies since the 1990’s. I have devoted my life to providing the very best, state-of-the-art care to these individuals. We have formed a patient-doctor relationship, which I hope many will chose to continue in spite of my severing ties with Aetna. You see, health insurance has evolved such that insurers and government have inserted themselves smack-dab in the middle of the once sacred patient-doctor relationship. I am called a provider- not a doctor. My patient is now yours- not mine. What I can do as a physician now has strangulating strings and nonsensical numbers attached- to you and government and money-not the best interests of the patients.
Obamacare, the “law of the land”, contains ever-changing-at-the-whim-of-HHS, politically-expedient mandates, rewards, penalties, rules and regulations with which I cannot rationally or morally treat my patients and run a practice, much-less interpret, implement, or comply.
Millions of Americans have lost coverage because of the healthcare law and must now shop on a defective, insecure government website and sign up for more expensive policies through Federal and State exchanges. Only by logging in as a prospective patient did my office manager and I discover that Aetna was selling plans for which I am a provider-effectively selling my services without even asking, much less informing me that my services would be sold on such a site, under the auspices of new terms with which I will not comply.
Then, after the fact, I received a form letter informing me of Aetna’s “new allowables”. I will not sell my services under such terms. While treated as such, patients and doctors are not commodities worthy of such impersonal, inconsiderate, and cavalier treatment. We choose dignity and personal service over disrespect and form letters.
So here we are, you are getting new business offering health insurance plans featuring my services without my consent under terms which are unacceptable to me. Accept this as my official written notice that the changes that you have unilaterally made to our contract are unacceptable to me and make our contract null and void. You must explain this to your patients. You must tell them that they have purchased a product that was misrepresented to them and that you cannot deliver. It saddens me to think of the decreased access to care from actual physicians and the shockingly increased costs Aetna patients will now experience because of your choice to collude with big government rather than collaborate with patients and physicians.
Kristin S. Held, MD