Jerry Flanagan, lead attorney for the Consumer Watchdog group in California, says hundreds of thousands of people lost their doctors when insurers sold narrow networks without notice.
"Consumers here were told that networks are going to be the same as they were before Obamacare … and those are flat out lies," Flanagan said.
Kevin McCarthy of Thousand Oaks, California, was surprised last spring, when he learned his family doctor of 14 years could not accept the Blue Shield insurance he'd purchased under Obamacare.
He said he was "outraged" because when he was shopping for his policy, Blue Shield confirmed his doctor was covered.
"We were duped," McCarthy said. "Hoodwinked is another good term."
Here's what happened. Insurance companies — to save money — are quietly selling what are called "narrow networks." They sharply restrict the number of doctors and hospitals people can see. In some cases, people may be limited to 30 percent or less of the doctors and hospitals nearby.