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A Law Designed to Protect Health Consumers Has Ended Up Hurting Them

Vernon Price was excited. He needed to find a new mental health care provider who accepted his Medi-Cal insurance plan. As a mental health advocate in Humboldt County, he’d heard the horror stories — patients who called 20 providers only to find they didn’t exist, didn’t accept insurance, or didn’t have openings.

But a representative from Price’s insurance company personally emailed him a list of six therapists to contact. “This is not going to be as difficult as I thought,” Price said.

Vernon Price As therapists returned his calls, however, Price’s optimism sank. No one he talked to had available appointments, and the first therapist he called on the list no longer accepted his insurance.

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