New policy for Children’s affects poorest patients

Crystal Rivera’s son has the kind of health issues that would make any mother anxious: food allergies, asthma attacks, a skin condition. But 5-year-old Dacuarie Dillard was in good hands, seeing specialists at Boston Children’s Hospital, where he and Rivera had grown comfortable with his care.

Things changed Jan. 1, when the family’s health insurer, Neighborhood Health Plan, began a new contract with Children’s that makes it more complicated for Dacuarie and thousands of poor children like him to see doctors at one of Massachusetts’ most prestigious hospitals, even as it becomes increasingly popular with wealthier patients from around the country and the globe.

The new policy, one of many moves by insurers to control costs by restricting choice, applies to Neighborhood members on Medicaid, the government program for low-income individuals and families, known here as Mass Health, with tens of thousands of children possibly affected.

– Boston Globe

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