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Covered California removes online doctor directory

LOS ANGELES — The state's insurance exchange, Covered California, has pulled its online directory of medical providers after acknowledging it is riddled with wrong information.

The California Medical Association said it found mistakes such as obstetricians labeled as ophthalmologists and the wrong doctors described as fluent in Russian and Farsi, the Los Angeles Times reported (http://lat.ms/1aqdCqp).

The search tool for doctors and hospitals has been offline since Oct. 9 while fixes are being made. An exchange spokesman told the Times it might be restored sometime in the next week.

The site's shutdown may prove to be a headache for California residents signing up for coverage under the new federal health care law.

Information on what doctors and hospitals are included under the law is particularly important because many insurers reduced their provider networks in the exchange in an effort to hold down rates. Blue Shield of California says it will include about half of its contracted doctors. In contrast, HMO giant Kaiser Permanente is making its full network of doctors available.


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