** This article by LeeAnn Hall first appeared in Huffington Post **
Have you heard about the latest fad in health care? It’s called “skinny networks.”
Normally, when I hear the words “skinny” and “health” in the same sentence, I think about the importance of diet and exercise. Yet, when we’re discussing health provider networks, there’s nothing healthy about skinny.
A health provider network is the set of primary care doctors, specialists, hospitals, and other facilities in a patient’s health plan. When you’re selecting your health insurance, often one of the first things you do is check the provider list on the insurer’s website. You want to know whether you’ll be able to see your doctor if you choose that plan.
However, being able to see your family doctor isn’t the only thing that matters in a health provider network. Patients also count on networks to offer specialists and facilities close to home, so they can get care they need when they need it, without exorbitant out-of-network costs. Read more