Anthem Blue Cross slammed with narrow-network lawsuit

As the healthcare industry as a whole is moving toward a more consumer-centric mindset, this does not bode well for insurers who offer a list of only narrow-network providers.

Take the case that transpired earlier last month--consumer Watchdog hit California's Anthem Blue Cross with a class-action lawsuit for allegedly misleading millions of members about whether physicians and hospitals were participating in new plan networks.

The issue is on the table once again for the state's largest for-profit insurer, who was hit with another lawsuit earlier this week for supposedly switching members to narrow-network health plans, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Insurers often offer narrow networks as a way of keeping premiums low for individual policies, writes the LA Times. Many insurers in California, including Anthem, are sticking with this narrow-network mindset leading into 2015.

However, there are steps insurers can take to better prepare for the upcoming enrollment period--many states are urging insurers to widen provider networks, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

From a member-viewpoint, if a family chooses a narrow-network exchange plan, this means they will most likely lose their trusted family doctor in order to obtain some form of health insurance, according to WatchdogWire.

So as a way to fit into an ever-changing healthcare landscape, insurers can ease the concerns of their members by teaming up with providers and add them to their networks. For example, Ohio-based CareSource has expanded its network to include more than six hospitals as it works toward having more than 50 hospitals in its network.

For more:
- here's the LA Times piece
- check out the WatchdogWire article