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Advanced practice nurses want in on insurance exchange plans

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 12, 2013

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Health plan networks on health insurance exchanges should be required to include advanced practice registered nurses, the American Nurses Assn. wrote in comments to the Obama administration on a proposed rule governing the coverage marketplaces.

The exchanges were created by the Affordable Care Act to provide consumers with a variety of affordable private insurance options. Open enrollment for the marketplaces is scheduled to begin on Oct. 1 in every state. In its comments, the ANA said most private insurers have focused on including physicians in their networks but not necessarily other health professionals such as advanced practice nurses.

“As many more millions of uninsured or underinsured seek primary care services through these exchanges, they will need access to qualified primary care providers,” said ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, MPH, RN, in a statement. “That will not happen if private insurers continue to exclude or restrict APRNs from their provider networks.”

An ANA press release said excluding advanced practice nurses from contributing to care through the exchanges would undermine their role in helping to alleviate primary care shortages in the U.S. According to the trade group, more than 250,000 nursing specialists are licensed nationally, and 100,000 advanced practice nurses bill for Medicare services under their own National Provider Identifiers as independent Medicare health care professionals.

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