Ironically, as the number of people in the United States with various health insurance policies steadily increases, their ability to have their choice in which doctors and medical groups they can see under their coverage plan has become incredibly limited. That is, unless they are willing to pay a handsome fee in order to have the freedom of seeing any health care provider they so desire.
These insurance networks, now being called “narrow networks”, feature extremely limited groups of providers that citizens can see. For the most part, many of these plans exclude many large hospitals, doctors’ groups, and other respected health care providers that many people wish to visit. However, with these narrow networks, the only way people are able to go and see these prominent providers is by paying a substantial amount of money out of pocket. Apparently, the trend will continue to be smaller medical groups becoming more and more common for people with many Medicare and Medicaid Advantage plans. This will affect physicians in various ways, with smaller medical groups gaining more visits by people with said insurance plans and larger practices perhaps seeing a decreased number of visitors, especially by people with these narrow networks.
While many people are concerned about their narrowing ability to choose where they can go for their health care needs, others are more than happy to have their networks limited in order to save money. But every side has two points of views, as displayed by what Lamar Alexander, Tennessee’s Republican Senator, said in a speech in April, “Too often, Obamacare cancels the policy you wanted to keep and tells you what policy to buy”. As always, with new government programs such as the Affordable Care Act, there will be those for it and those against it and it will always have various pros and cons. However, the debate throughout the country continues to rage on regarding “Obamacare” and if it is really what is best for both consumers, physicians, and the country as a whole. Only time will bring about the answer to these important questions.