Insurers Say Limited Doctor Choice Key To Plan Affordability Under Health Law

Insurers are saying that offering more narrow networks of doctors and hospitals is vital to keeping costs down in plans offered under the health law. In the meantime, some insurers are offering supplemental plans to fill in these gaps.

The Wall Street Journal: Insurers Face New Pressure Over Limited Doctor Choice
Insurers are facing pressure from regulators and lawmakers about plans that offer limited choices of doctors and hospitals, a tactic the industry said is vital to keep down coverage prices in the new health law's marketplaces. This week, federal regulators proposed a tougher review process for the doctors and hospitals in plans to be sold next year through healthcare.gov, a shift that could force insurers to expand those networks (Mathews and Weaver, 2/6).

Bloomberg: Insurers Slash Specialty Hospitals To Keep Premiums Low
Health insurers under pressure to keep premiums low are eliminating some hospitals from coverage in a cost-cutting strategy that threatens to freeze out centers that provide specialized care, limiting patient options. Left out are hospitals such as Seattle Children’s, excluded from five of seven plans on Washington’s state insurance exchange (Chen, 2/6).

Kaiser Health News: Insurers Eye Market For Supplemental Health Coverage To Fill Gaps Left By Obamacare, Employer Plans
As out-of-pocket medical costs grow for many Americans, the insurance industry is offering a way to help and, at the same time, expand its business: by selling supplemental policies that may fill the gaps for consumers. Insurers are increasingly marketing these limited policies that pay cash after a hospital stay or specific disease diagnosis, such as cancer (Hancock, 2/6).

In other news -

Politico: Feds Fight Notre Dame On Contraception Rule Reprieve
The Obama administration is fighting the University of Notre Dame's request for a reprieve from complying with Obamacare's contraception coverage requirements. Justice Department lawyers filed a legal brief Tuesday with the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals opposing the Catholic university's latest bid to be exempted from the law's mandate on contraception coverage (Haberkorn, 2/5).

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