113. What is a closed panel or closed network?

Closed Panel or Network

A closed network is one that no longer accepts new providers. If a network closes, then you can only choose from the providers already on the panel. This can be good for providers already on the network, because they face less competition. It is also good for the managed care plan, because you will probably have to travel farther for an appointment, and may not find a provider with available time when you want an appointment. This discourages use of the network by consumers, and decreases costs for the insurance company. Having a larger network usually increases the quality of services available, because the network is more likely to have a provider with expertise in needed areas. Closed networks almost always result in consumer frustration because of difficulties scheduling appointments, and problems finding a local provider.

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