Nationwide Health Plans

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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The advent of managed care has brought with it both pros and cons. One of its biggest benefits, without a doubt, is the choice it can afford, provided you're signed up with the right insurer. So vast are some of these companies' networks that it's often possible to see a physician all the way across the country and still receive the same benefits you'd get at home.

Between business trips, vacations, and holiday travel, you may find yourself making long-distance trips dozens of times per year. Often it's "on the road" that travelers find themselves getting sick, be it from exhaustion, poor diet, climate change, or any number of other reasons. With a nationwide health plan, it doesn't matter where you happen to be when a nasty strain of flu hits. So long as you find a participating provider in the area you can get treatment that very day.

How Nationwide Plans Operate

Nationwide insurers contract with doctors, nurses, hospitals, clinics, and other care providers all across the country. Not only do they keep general practitioners in their networks, but specialists as well, from oncologists and cardiologists to radiologists and osteopaths. Rarely are there any sorts of standards that unite these professionals beyond their qualifications. That is, they aren't bonded by any sort of medical philosophy and are simply an ad hoc collection of caregivers who have chosen to participate in the plan.

In some instances, your nationwide health plan is overseen by a well-known insurer with national clout such as AETNA, Blue Cross, Kaiser-Permanente, or PacifiCare. In other cases, your coverage isn't administered by an insurance company per se, but a provider access organization with a nationwide network. Either way, the quality of your care is essentially equal, though some doctors will inevitably be more to your liking than others.

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