Looking to Save Money on Health Insurance? Think Narrow
Health insurance, as everyone knows all too well, can get very costly. So consumers, researchers and policy makers alike are constantly trying to find new ways to get excellent care without breaking the bank.
Recently, a team of researchers – an economist, a political scientist and a professor of medicine – took a look at different models of health insurance and their overall performance in the state of California. The researchers were interested in finding out whether plans with narrow networks – health care networks designed to offer access to a limited and carefully curated community of physicians and facilities and which, as a result, come with a more modest price tag – could really provide access to top-quality care while keeping prices down. Their conclusion: these plans not only saved members money on their premiums, they also offered access to care that was of just as high quality – or higher! – than plans with more extensive networks. This led the researchers to suggest that one advantage of narrow networks is the ability insurers have to cut out all but the best-performing hospitals from the plans they offer patients.
These findings are more than just an academic curiosity: they promise real savings to real people. To give a real-world example, the most popular family plan offered by CareConnect would cost you $800 less per month* in premiums than a comparable plan from one of the big insurance companies offering a traditional network. That amounts to savings of almost $10,000 a year.
So is a narrow network right for you? If you see a number of doctors at a wide variety of institutions and can’t imagine switching, then the answer may be no. But if you’re a little flexible and happy to save some cash, a narrow network may be just the right fit. You’ll want to check just who the network covers: a good narrow network centered in your community may already include your local hospital, physician and other health care professionals you know, see and trust.
* Estimates are based on a comparison between publicly available rates and CareConnect offerings.