Prompted by the healthcare overhaul law, several states are updating their rules for insurance networks to better reflect who is covered and how people shop for and use their benefits.
Washington state just implemented new regulations, and discussions are underway in several others, including Arkansas, Minnesota, California and New Hampshire. Although complaints about one insurer's network prompted New Hampshire's decision to reconsider its rules, insurance officials say the old standards haven't kept up with changes in how and where people get health care.
Washington's rules took effect last week and were designed to balance access with affordability while giving consumers more information about the networks. Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler says the health overhaul law increased benefits but also requires consumers to play a bigger role in shopping for insurance.
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