In your search for a healthcare provider, many will tell you that they accept your insurance plan. Unfortunately, most of these providers will also conveniently neglect to mention the fact that though they do accept your insurance, they are not in your insurance company's network. Though it may take a little extra work, finding a provider that is in-network is important. In-network means that they have a special relationship with your insurance defined by different types of contracts, which for your purposes will generally translate into lower costs.
Choosing an out of network doctor is not necessarily a problem, but it means you are probably paying a lot more than you need to. Providers that are in-network almost always have special contracts with your insurance company that give you lower co-pays that will get your full money's worth for the cost of insurance. Sometimes, it can be frustrating enough just finding a healthcare provider that is convenient for you and that accepts your health insurance. Once you find one that seems OK, it may be tempting to immediately end your search and choose them. However, the real problem is that while many healthcare providers will tell you that they accept your health insurance, many will not be in-network.
If you are searching for a doctor of any kind, you are probably already be aware of how long it can take to get a simple answer on the phone to questions about your insurance, so the solution to this problem is better handled on your insurance company's end. Luckily, depending on your company this can be a pretty simple fix. Simply go to their website and search around until you can find a list of in network healthcare providers. This is also great because it narrows down your list of choices, though hopefully not too much, giving you a shorter list of calls to make and a more manageable selection.
Why It's Worth It
Ultimately, you invest in health insurance to save money on medical treatment, and to be sure you are covered in the event of a particularly costly medical problem. Your insurance company creates in-network contracts with healthcare providers to offer you the best possible prices. To not take advantage of these contracts is simply paying much more than you need to. So, as long as your insurance company offers enough choices, putting in the time to find care that is in-network is truly worth it.