What are you more afraid of?

June 18, 2012 in Health Insurance

I get a lot of questions about health insurance. Not that I’m any expert. It’s just that my friends and colleagues are desperate for help with their insurance options. Last week a colleague described a dilemma that really made me stop and think.

This colleague is covered by her husband’s health insurance. His employer was switching to plans with limited networks. A lot of employers are doing this to save money. Limited network plans are cheaper because they cut out some “high cost” hospitals or because they guarantee a few hospitals more business in exchange for a lower rate.

So my colleague, who is pretty savvy about this stuff, narrowed her options and weighed the pros and cons of two plans. It came down to this: one plan included all the hospitals she thought she might need except Dana Farber. The other included all the hospitals she might use except Mass Eye and Ear, which also specializes in throat and vocal problems.

Since my colleague, like me, needs her voice to work, the idea of not being able to go to Mass Eye and Ear, or paying a lot more to go there, was scary. But in the end, the idea of a cancer diagnosis and not being able to go to Dana Farber was more disturbing. She chose the network that included Dana Farber.

Many of my friends and colleagues say they won’t try a limited network plan because they want to be able to go wherever they want for care. Sometimes when they I hear this I say, come on, there are lots of good docs at all the hospitals in Boston. But I think this colleague has a point.

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