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Narrow Networks: Can They Increase Health Care Quality?

September 30, 2014 · Margaret E. O'Kane

This is a portion of an article that originally appeared on KevinMD.com. Read the full article here

American consumers value the freedom to comparison shop. We like to survey a variety of options and select “the one” that what we really want. If we want triple-ply, select-a-size paper towels with a blue shepherdess imprinted on them, then we expect to be able to find them in aisle 9. Deny us options and we’ll take our business elsewhere.

When it comes to health care, though, endless options may not be better. Consider the issue of “narrow” or “tailored” networks in health insurance — where insurers and other payers contract with a specific, select group of providers to care for their members.

These networks have been getting a lot attention lately because of the way they structure a patient’s choice of providers. Earlier this month the White House updated standards for health plans offered on federal exchanges after mounting pressure from consumers who found their desired providers were out of network. And recently we saw headlines about how comprehensive cancer centers are concerned that they are off-limits to many patients in state exchange plans.

This is a portion of an article that originally appeared on KevinMD.com. Read the full article here

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