Independent Practice Association (IPA)

Last Updated: March 27, 2018

Definition - What does Independent Practice Association (IPA) mean?

An independent practice association (IPA) is a group of health professionals (mostly licensed doctors) who have formed a partnership or forged a contract to make their services available to insurance companies and other third parties. This arrangement allows physicians to keep their individual practices, but to also be a part of an insurance network.

An independent practice association is also known as an individual practice association.

Insuranceopedia explains Independent Practice Association (IPA)

The members of an independent practice association are not affiliated with any legal health organization prior to their grouping (hence, they are independent). By grouping together, they can maintain ties with health insurance organizations, health institutions, and people who may wish to avail themselves of the group's services. These partnerships usually come with financial benefits like discounts for services from members.

Independent practice associations are good options for physicians who do not want to give up their individual practices, yet who want to have some connection to an insurance network. These associations can also be extremely convenient for patients, because patients in these networks typically do not need referrals to see any doctor in the association. Therefore, individual practice associations allow for a bit more freedom and fewer restrictions for physicians as well as patients.

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