What’s a Health Insurance provider network?
Provider networks are made up of doctors, other healthcare providers, pharmacies, and facilities that contract with insurance companies to become “in-network” providers. If you go to a provider who is in your insurance company’s network, you will typically pay less than if you go to an “out-of-network” provider who doesn’t have a contract with your insurance company.
Insurance companies have different networks of healthcare providers for different health plans, so it’s important to check if a provider is in or out of your plan’s network before you receive services.
A health provider network is a vast group of people who are from various medical backgrounds/institutions including doctors, nurses, physicians, surgeons, chiropractors as well as hospitals, dental clinics, diagnostic labs, companies that provide home-based healthcare, and medical equipment providers.
Types of healthcare providers plans
- Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs)
- Point-of-Service Plans (POS)
- Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs)
- Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPOs)
The common types of in-network providers
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
These are the health providers chosen by your health plan’s network. If you choose a PPO, the health insurance provider might offer flexibility over an out-of-network provider.
Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO)
It limits you to a single provider network. By choosing an HMO, you will have to go for a primary care physician for your medical appointments. Under a health maintenance organization, your healthcare coverage will be more restricted as only doctors and physicians who have a contract with the HMO can provide medical care. An HMO also generally has a lower premium than other in-house network providers.
Point of Service (POS)
Here you will have the option of choosing a PCP along with the freedom to opt for out-of-network providers if you wish to. In the case of an out-of-network provider in POS, you might have to pay a higher coverage price.
Many acclaimed and reliable health insurance companies ask their patients for provider networks. Because healthcare providers have experienced staff, and they meet healthcare quality standards. They are also flexible with providing their services at a discounted rate after discussing their payment part in the healthcare plan.
Importance of Network Health Plans
The health insurance company emphasizes the health plan’s provider because it cuts down your copayment for your medical care. It is usually lower for an in-house network than an out-of-network provider because, for an out-of-network provider, you must pay a higher price. In a health plan, the consumer receives an effective and quality care network as it does not compromise the quality. , It is essential for a provider network to consider the affordability factor of the consumer. That is why they negotiate prices with physicians and save the consumers from added costs and balance billing.
In-Network Provider Vs. Out-Network Provider
An in-network provider only takes away any copay amount at the time of providing the service while directly billing the health plan. To look at how much you will have to pay for the service, you can request the provider to bill your insurance first. On the other hand, the out-of-network plan does not mostly hit insurance claims for the consumer, and you might end up paying for the entire service out of your pocket first. It might be risky in case your claim gets rejected later.
The in-network provider due to a contract with the insurance company cannot balance-bill you. They accept insurance companies negotiated discounted prices. In case they do charge you for balance-billing, they can be petitioned for violation of the contract. However, out-of-network providers mostly charge for balance-billing as they do not sign any contract with the insurance company. The issue with an out-of-network provider is that they can easily charge you for services since they are not bound by any contract. This means you will have to pay a higher price since the insurance company will only pay the standard fee. It shows that choosing an in-house network is usually the better option.
This all shows that, before opting for a health plan’s network, it is extremely important to properly evaluate and review it. You need to learn the rules and policies of the health network provider and understand if they provide out-of-network coverage, if yes how much? Being aware of your health plan’s network will be less taxing when you will need healthcare coverage in the future.
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