Regulators Begin Redraft Of 'Narrow Network' Insurance Rules

Apr 23, 2014

The Insurance Department kicked off a series of public meetings on Wednesday looking into network adequacy standards, with a focus on health plans that exclude doctors and hospitals.

Anthem’s ‘narrow network’ plans—the only option available through so-called ObamaCare this year—left out 10 of New Hampshire’s 26 hospitals, forcing some consumers to switch doctors.

Insurance Department Deputy Commissioner Alex Feldvebel during Wednesday's Network Adequacy Working Group.
Credit Todd Bookman / NHPR

The Insurance Department found Anthem’s plans met the current standards for coverage, which take into account the distance patients must travel for care.

Regulators are now looking to revamp those minimums, with any new rules going into effect in 2016. Deputy Commissioner Alex Feldvebel says New Hampshire’s landscape will be different by then, with more competition expected in the marketplace.

“What does that do to our thinking about network adequacy? I think it does a lot. It changes things dramatically,” says Feldvebel.

The Department is looking at how other states monitor network adequacy. It is also accepting public comment.