Health insurance networks are narrowing, according to The New York Times, and public workers may need to take care when they are on the exchanges during the next open enrollment period to analyze their insurance benefits options effectively.
The New York Times reported more health plans have small provider networks than in the past as a way to control healthcare costs. Yet too limited a network can result in specialists and even hospitals being excluded from public employees’ insurance coverage. According to US News, one of the signs that it is time to change health insurance carriers is when the beneficiary isn’t able to see a doctor he or she trusts due to a limited network.
However, the issue of narrow networks may only become more commonplace under the Affordable Care Act. Price tends to be the major deciding factor when it comes to purchasing a health plan on the federal and state health insurance exchanges, so The New York Times noted people may end up choosing to have a narrow network to save on costs. This can cause numerous issues for public employees, however, because these workers may find themselves with high costs if they see an out-of-network physician during an emergency.