Mark Lutes, aMember of the Firm in the Health Care and Life Sciences practice in the Washington, D.C. office, was quoted in an article about network health plans.
The article discussed how some cities are experimenting with “narrow network” health plans, which promise premium cuts of up to 15 percent if patients are willing to accept fewer choices in doctors and hospitals. According to the article, the model, first attempted in the 1990s, was thought to be dead after consumer backlash, but some insurers are betting that recession-weary employers who pay their workers’ insurance premiums will reconsider now.
Lutes stated that aside from the expected consumer reaction, narrow networks are difficult to create in this region. In Washington, even small companies are likely to have employees who live in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. Although health care behemoths like MedStar Health and Inova Health Care dominate segments of the market, no single provider reaches into the entire Washington area.
He continued to state that there are also comparatively few large physicians groups in the area, making it more difficult for insurers to set up a tightly knit network.