Health-care wonks can insist that narrow networks aren’t news, but clearly, these networks are news to the folks in the plans -- and now that they know, they aren’t happy.
In December, I predicted that “doc shock” was going to be a major problem for the U.S. health-care overhaul, as people found out that the narrow networks insurers use to keep premiums low often don’t cover the top-notch doctors you’d like to see if you get really sick:
"If narrow networks could give everyone in the country access to health-care outcomes no worse than 90 percent as good as the folks with the best doctors at 75 percent of the price we’d pay for broader networks, the health-care wonks would jump on that deal as an unbelievable bargain. But I think it’s pretty clear that average folks don’t think like health-care wonks.
"Rationally, you should get the policy with the highest possible deductible and coinsurance, because more comprehensive insurance basically just means that you’re prepaying the deductible in advance. But people hate those policies. The most bitter union fights are usually when management tries to increase the copays and deductibles on health insurance -- even though the union knows exactly how much this is costing, because they’re basically making a dollar-for-dollar trade of wage compensation for health insurance premiums. That’s what the membership wants.