January 30, 2023

How provider networks help lower costs of care

  • Clay Phillips is vice president of Provider Programs and Strategy at BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee.

Every year during open enrollment for health plans, many people have questions about their provider network options.

You may ask, “How can I ensure my doctor is in the network I prefer? What are the differences between networks designated by a letter? And while we’re at it, why are these networks important to my health and my finances?”

Health insurance can be a complicated industry, but it’s built on simple concepts. The network concept is no exception:

  • Health care providers accept lower rates for their services but gain access to more patients.
  • Health plan members access the network providers and get the benefit of the discounted rates for care.

You can find out if your doctors are part of certain networks by either using a “Find Care” tool on your insurer’s website or calling the doctor’s office and asking a staff member.