Inadequate in the Best of Times: Reevaluating Provider Networks in Light of the Coronavirus Pandemic

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Abstract

The coronavirus has affected billions of people worldwide. As of early June, estimates of infections exceeded six million individuals, about double the number from early May. The United States has experienced more cases than Spain, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Turkey, Canada, Japan, and Russia combined. To make things worse, the structure of the U.S. health-care system may significantly impede access to needed medical services while exposing patients to financial liabilities. One particularly concerning feature may be the limitations on access imposed by provider networks. This article briefly reviews what we know about the narrowing of provider networks, and how findings from a series of recent articles illustrating the often-severe restrictions imposed by these networks may be particularly detrimental in the middle of a global health emergency. I also highlight how the actions taken by policymakers to temporarily mitigate these problems have fallen short and what potential long-term solutions might look like.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)282-290
Number of pages9
JournalWorld Medical and Health Policy
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health Policy

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