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Research Studies is a monthly compilation of research articles funded by AHRQ or authored by AHRQ researchers and recently published in journals or newsletters.
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Graves JA, Nshuti L, Everson J
Breadth and exclusivity of hospital and physician networks in US insurance markets.
The goal of this study was to quantify network breadth and overlap among primary care physician (PCP), cardiology, and general acute care hospital networks for employer-based (large group and small group), individually purchased (marketplace), Medicare Advantage (MA), and Medicaid managed care (MMC) plans. The main outcomes measured were percentage of in-network physicians and/or hospitals within a 60-minute drive from a hypothetical patient in a given zip code (breadth), and the number of physicians and/or hospitals within each network that overlapped with other insurers' networks, expressed as a percentage of the total possible number of shared connections (exclusivity). Networks were categorized by network breadth size and analyzed by insurance type, state, and insurance, physician, and/or hospital market concentration level, as measured by the Hirschman-Herfindahl index. Markets with concentrated primary care and insurance markets had the broadest and least exclusive primary care networks among large-group commercial plans. Markets with the least concentration had the narrowest and most exclusive networks. Rising levels of insurer and market concentration were associated with broader and less exclusive healthcare networks. The authors suggest that this means that patients could switch to a lower-cost, narrow network plan without losing-in-network coverage to their PCP.
AHRQ-funded; HS025976; HS026395.
Citation: Graves JA, Nshuti L, Everson J . Breadth and exclusivity of hospital and physician networks in US insurance markets. JAMA Netw Open 2020 Dec;3(12):e2029419. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.29419..
Keywords: Health Insurance, Learning Health Systems, Healthcare Systems, Primary Care, Hospitals, Healthcare Delivery