Would you rather buy health insurance that reduces your annual costs or gives you access to a wider network of doctors? Since you do have a choice, learn about the trend of choosing low-cost narrow networks.
What is a Narrow Network and How Does it Work?
Almost 40 percent of available public health care exchanges choose to be part of a narrow network. They contract with a limited pool of doctors, hospitals and specialists who agree to discount their services in exchange for the potential to treat a large number of patients.
Consumers who choose narrow networks also receive lower premium rates, making this health insurance option affordable to many families and employers. Health insurance companies also argue that narrow networks allow them to choose better providers for their members.
How to Save Money With a Narrow Network
By seeing the medical providers your insurance covers, you save money since your insurance will likely cover a large portion of the bill. Narrow networks also only raised rates by an average of four percent from 2014 to 2015, which helps to keep your annual costs low.
However, you’ll need to see in-network providers. You’ll pay high out-of-pocket expenses if you choose to see a doctor who does not participate in your health insurance plan. Read your policy carefully to find out exactly what’s covered. Call the customer service hotline before you schedule any appointments or tests, too, and make sure the provider is listed on your coverage.
Should You Switch to a Narrow Network?
A McKinsey survey found that customer satisfaction with narrow networks is high. Less than 20 percent of patients who used a narrow network in 2014 switched plans in 2015. You, too, might consider switching to a narrow network, so talk to your insurance agent or shop online. Find out which plans cover your favorite doctors, specialists and hospitals. Then take a look at the costs, including deductibles and copays, as you decide if a narrow network makes financial sense for you. If so, you join many consumers who enjoy the financial advantages of narrow networks.