Insurance plan networks: 5 things you need to know

Follow me on Twitter @dianewshannon My 18-year-old daughter recently moved to a university about 1,500 miles away to study theater. Tears, texts, and several care packages later, she settled in, only to develop a hamstring injury that prevented her from participating in required dance classes. In short, she needed several months of physical therapy. After searching for options near the university, she told me that visits would cost as much as $200 each. Our health insurance plan only covers urgent or emergency care outside of our local area, and physical therapy was not considered urgent. When she enrolled, we had assumed she would get preventive care when she was at home and use a local walk-in clinic for urgent needs. We hadn’t considered services like physical therapy. Suddenly, opting out of the university’s student health plan didn’t seem like such a smart idea. Narrow networks are one method that health plans use to control their costs. Basically, a plan with a narrow network covers services from a smaller number of doctors and hospitals. By contracting with fewer care providers, the health plan is able to negotiate lower costs. Generally, care providers located in other states or regions of the country are out-of-network. If you choose a narrow-network plan, it may have a lower premium but you will have less choice in care providers. And, if you obtain care outside of the plan’s network, you will pay more. In some cases, you will be responsible ...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Health Health care Source Type: blogs

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