With rising health care costs, health insurance carriers have been offering narrow networks to provide cost-savings on premiums in return for more limited choice of physicians and hospitals. While these lower premiums are good for consumers and other purchasers, related systemic issues such as network adequacy, market disruption, impact on essential hospitals, and quality of care must be considered.
At the nexus of cost-containment, consumer choice, and quality of care, what is the proper balance of regulation and market freedom? How do we protect consumers seeking quality care and accurate information? And how do we recognize that there are different types of narrow networks, many of which are working to improve the integration of care and patient-engagement?
To address these questions and more, the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute and the Woodrow Wilson School’s Center of Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University hosted a half-day conference of stakeholders on January 21, 2016 on the Princeton University campus. The conference provided a national and local framework to examine the impact of narrow networks on the questions of cost, access, affordability and quality.
The speakers and panelists included current and former federal and state regulators, health insurance executives, hospital and medical leaders, consumer groups, and academics that are seeking to find the right balance of regulation and free market forces.
- Joel Ario, J.D., M.Div. Managing Director of Manatt Health Solutions, former Commissioner of Insurance in both Oregon and Pennsylvania, and former Director of the Office of Health Insurance Exchanges in the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services
- Sabrina Corlette, J.D. Senior Research Fellow and Director at the Center for Health Insurance Reforms at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute
- Kate Ho, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Economics at Columbia University
- Heather Howard, J.D. Lecturer in Public Affairs and Director of State Health Reform Assistance Network at Princeton University, and former NJ Health Commissioner
- Leah Binder. President & CEO, The Leapfrog Group
- Moderator: Katherine Hempstead, Ph.D. Team Director and Senior Program Officer at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
New Jersey-Focused Panel:
- Larry Downs, Esq. CEO of the Medical Society of New Jersey
- Elizabeth A. Ryan, Esq., President & CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association
- Ward Sanders, Esq., President of the New Jersey Association of Health Plans
- Jack Sullivan, Health Benefits Manager of the New Jersey Carpenters Fund
- Senator Joseph F. Vitale, Chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee
- Moderator: Linda J. Schwimmer, J.D. President & CEO of the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute