The updated standards came after a Friday interview in which President Barack Obama acknowledged that pressure to keep down costs could mean consumers may not have access to their choice of doctor. You may find out that network is more expensive than another network, then you have to make choices in terms of whats right for your family, Obama told WebMD. Do you want to save on costs, or do you want to save on convenience? A senior administration official defended the health laws standards in a Friday afternoon statement. What is what true before the health law is true today insurers have always made decisions about which providers and doctors are in their networks that wont change, the official said. What is different now is the Affordable Care Act marks the first time that federal law requires insurance plans to offer adequate networks of doctors, including mental health practitioners, pharmacies, hospitals, and community providers.
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Many of the people signing up then were losing existing policies that didn't comply with new requirements of the health law. "Even with infinite resources, you can't fit everyone in the pipeline if they wait until the last day," Lee said. "I anticipate the last weekend will be pretty crazy." Customer service has been a nagging problem for the state. The average wait time for exchange callers was 47 minutes at the end of February. Lee said the addition of about 300 call-center employees has helped cut hold times to about 30 minutes. "It's not what we want, but the demand is incredibly strong," Lee said.