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Concerns about cancer centers under health law

by RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press
Updated 5:05 pm, Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This photo taken Feb. 24, 2014, provided by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, shows Dr. Willie Underwood, a urologic oncologist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, examining patient Richard Waldrop at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, in Buffalo, N.Y. Cancer patients relieved that they can get insurance coverage because of the new health care law may be disappointed to learn that some of the nation’s best cancer hospitals are off limits. Only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to an Associated Press survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their state’s exchange, or primary market. Photo: Bill Sheff, AP

This photo taken Feb. 24, 2014, provided by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, shows Dr. Willie Underwood, a urologic oncologist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, examining patient Richard Waldrop at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, in Buffalo, N.Y. Cancer patients relieved that they can get insurance coverage because of the new health care law may be disappointed to learn that some of the nation’s best cancer hospitals are off limits. Only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to an Associated Press survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their state’s exchange, or primary market. Photo: Bill Sheff, AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some of America's best cancer hospitals are off-limits to many of the people now signing up for coverage under the nation's new health care program.

Doctors and administrators say they're concerned. So are some state insurance regulators.

An Associated Press survey found examples coast to coast. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of eight insurers in Washington's insurance exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center says it's in less than half of the plans in the Houston area. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is included by two of nine insurers in New York City and has out-of-network agreements with two more.

In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP's survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their states' exchanges.

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