El Paso Health Insurance recipients are increasingly being offered “narrow networks” for their plan choices. Narrow networks are typically defined as the collection of health insurance plans that minimize the number of physicians and/or hospitals that are available to patients to choose as their plan.
Recent research revealed restrictive networks are now present on nearly three-quarters of all health plans on health insurance exchanges. Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) followed by Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPOs) make up over 75 percent of the offerings. Insurance providers have been moving to narrow networks for several reasons. They believe it lowers monthly premiums in part by limiting beneficiary choices. Also, many proponents believe it actually provides higher-quality care to patients given there are fewer players to manage in the network.
Some health care advocates, however, believe the proliferation of narrow networks reflects the insurance providers focus on cost and profit margins at the expense of the needs of the patient. Some have argued that it also may lead to fewer visits if patients trust their new doctor less or if the facility is less convenient for them with regard to travel.
It appears the trend is continuing to grow and consumers of health insurance in El Paso should be aware and do research to determine if their preferred physician or medical facility is offered in the health plan before choosing it. Quite often, patients choose pricing as the driving factor to select a plan and later find out that the doctor they have developed a strong relationship and trust are not available to them.
Due to lower costs, companies are also embracing narrow networks. Rick Thornton, an El Paso health insurance agent, thinks this trend will continue. “I’ve personally witnessed narrow networks dominating health insurance plans in El Paso. But I also believe the upside is it forces consumers to become more educated and informed about their health insurance needs. This leads to families and individuals selecting plans that are more responsive to their care and financial requirements,” he stated.
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