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Consumers Face Narrow Networks During Open Enrollment

As consumers navigate open enrollment for ACA insurance plans, narrow networks continue to be a problem. In an interview with NPR’s Michael Martin, Kaiser Health News’ Julie Rovner explained how narrow networks came about and how they impact consumers:

“[When insurers] were starting to put together their plans, they thought, how are we going to do this and still keep this insurance affordable? And one of the ways they did that was by having what we call narrow networks, meaning they only contract with a limited number of doctors and hospitals. And the hospitals that they most often don't contract with are these big teaching hospitals because they tend to be expensive.”

Rovner noted that consumers across the country are now facing narrow network plans.

As insurance companies pull out of states’ insurance networks, consumers may find that they there might not be a plan that contracts with the hospital where they are currently getting care.

If a consumer has a specific issue with the network being offered and continuing care, Rovner suggests the consumer calls the insurance company.


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