More Providers, Insurers Showing Appetite for Narrow Networks

Providers and insurers across the country are partnering to launch narrow-network plans even as controversy continues over whether these plans offer adequate provider access for consumers.

A new health plan collaboration in Wisconsin between a hospital system and an insurer is the latest sign that providers and insurers are betting on narrow networks even as controversy continues over whether these plans offer adequate provider access for consumers.

Aspirus, a not-for-profit health system based in Wausau, Wisconsin, and not-for-profit health insurer Arise Health Plan this week unveiled their co-branded health plan for individuals and small businesses with fewer than 50 workers, said Brett Davis, vice president of provider relations at WPS Health Insurance, Arise's parent company. WPS covers about 250,000 people across the state.

Consumers and employer groups that purchase the plan will receive discounted in-network care at Aspirus' 6 hospitals and from any physicians employed by Aspirus or doctors who contract with the system. Executives said the plan will have “affordable” monthly premiums but declined to be more specific. They declined to say whether the plan will be offered on Wisconsin's insurance exchange under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

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