Narrow Network Health Insurance - Are The Savings Worth It?

Narrow network health insurance plans are gaining popularity quickly, especially among Americans looking to cut healthcare costs. However, many are overlooking the potentially dangerous downside.

FirstQuote Health Staff
Published on
November 30, 2018
Last Updated on
May 16, 2023
Road sign indicating narrowing lanes ahead

It’s not outrageous to make the case that health insurance is the most dreaded phrase today, and for good reason. Getting medical coverage is a hassle, it’s frustrating, expensive, and there’s also a chance it won’t cover what you need. If only there was a better, cheaper, and easier way to get coverage. Well, there is, and it goes by the name narrow network health insurance.

What Is Narrow Network Health Insurance?

Narrow network health insurance plans operate with a smaller provider network, meaning you will have few choices when it comes to healthcare providers, as a trade-off for lower monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs. In order to benefit from discounted services, you will need to stay within the network or medical providers, but overall savings can greatly reduce the cost of your health coverage.

How It Works

Narrow network plans work just as a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) does. You pay a monthly premium to an insurance carrier, who then negotiates rates with a network of healthcare providers, which serves as your provider network. With your monthly premiums, you will have access to the provider network for all your healthcare needs.

The Strategy Behind Narrow Network Plans

The strategy of narrow networks or narrow network healthcare is to save you money by visiting The network of doctors in your area. With narrow networks banding doctors together the insurance companies can save money by you using their limited network.

The idea is to limit the network significantly in order to increase savings. In turn, a narrow network plan will save you money on your monthly premiums, while at the same time gives you access to medical professionals in your area, creating relationships in the community as a whole.

Provider Networks

Provider networks are doctors you can see with your insurance provider, but with narrow networks or narrow network healthcare, you cannot see any doctor in your plan’s network. You can only see the ones who accept narrow network plans.

This can be problematic for existing patients if the doctor chooses to exclusive patients under such plans. Thus, flooding the market with patients looking for a new doctor to serve their needs and accept their insurance.

The Benefits Of Narrow Networks

The benefits of narrow networks or narrow network healthcare include:

  • Significant savings to the patient
  • Increased health as a result of a regular doctor/patient relationship
  • Lower costs to Employers as a result of sick staff members
  • Lower out of pocket costs for insurance companies
  • Fewer trips to the emergency room due to increased access to the PCP

Narrow network healthcare creates healthy individuals. For some, it has been years since they have been to the doctor, primarily because they simply could not afford it. With a show of force from insurance companies and doctors, healthcare no longer has to be a choice.

The Drawbacks

With decreased premiums, one would wonder what the drawbacks of this type of insurance could be. This list may surprise you.

  • Lack of knowledge - Consumers brought plans with limited networks then found it hard to find care
  • Many ACA plans are limited and doctors are not accepting plans sold
  • People are unable to see the doctor they have seen for countless years because they won’t take their ACA insurance

Many people have chiefly complained that the ACA has robbed them of 30+ year relationships with doctors due to a lack of options for insurance through the affordable care act. One could argue that the doctors who refuse the insurance are the ones breaking the relationships up. The doctor cannot be forced to take all insurance, rather, it is up to them when it comes to who they choose to see and accept.

Explore Narrow Network Plans With FirstQuote Health

If a narrow network plan is something you wish to consider, then the best place to start is right here with FirstQuote Health. We provide some great resource guides and access to reputable companies who can help you transition into this new and affordable type of health insurance. If you are young, healthy, and aren’t too picky when it comes to your medical provider, then why not consider a cost-effective insurance plan?

We understand that picking the right health insurance plan can be a bit daunting, which is why we have experienced agents ready to help you out. Walk through your options, and weigh the pros and cons of a narrow network health insurance plan to see if it’s right for you. To get started, enter your zip code, and start comparing health insurance quotes in just a few minutes.

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