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Insure Your Health, Insure Your Future

Medical insurance can be expensive, which means buying it is not always fun. But think about what you get when you buy medical insurance. You don't just get more affordable access to your doctor. You're also more likely to remain in good health as you age. You're far less likely to have to empty your wallet for a medical emergency, too. What it all comes down to it is this: medical insurance is a good idea, even if it costs a bit more than you'd like. Read more about medical insurance here on this blog. We have all sorts of insights to share.



Insure Your Health, Insure Your Future

Health Insurance Services, PPOs, And HMOs

by Vincent Evans

How much do you really know about PPOs, HMOs, and the other health insurance services terms? You're ready to purchase a new policy. But you're not sure what options are available. Before you buy health insurance, take a look at what you need to know about the top types of coverage.

What Is a PPO?

A preferred provider organization (commonly known as a PPO) is a type of health plan that works with a specific network of hospitals, doctors, and other healthcare practitioners. As the name implies, the PPO plan uses preferred providers. The insurer contracts these providers at a set rate. This means you'll pay less if you use doctors/practitioners from the plan's in-network (preferred) list. 

Even though a PPO has preferred in-network providers, you may also choose to use an out-of-network service. While you do have this choice, an out-of-network doctor or hospital may have a higher cost. But the insurance company will pay part or some of the costs—depending on the policy. This gives you a greater degree of flexibility when you choose a doctor, specialist, or another healthcare provider.

What Is An HMO?

A health maintenance organization (or HMO) is another common type of insurance plan. Like PPOs, HMOs have a network of contracted providers. But the HMO (unlike the PPO) does not allow you to go out of network for medical services. If you choose to use a provider who is not part of the HMO plan's contracted network, you would have to pay the full cost out-of-pocket. This means the insurance plan would not cover any of the fees.

While an HMO doesn't have the flexibility you'll find in a PPO, it may come at a reduced cost (in comparison to a preferred provider organization plan option). This means the premium you pay monthly for the insurance may save you money. Before you choose an HMO, make sure your doctor or hospital is in-network. If not, you will either need to choose a different provider or pay for the full price of the service yourself. In an emergency, the plan may allow you to use an out-of-network medical provider. 

Are There Other Types of Plans?

PPOs and HMOs are popular plans. But they aren't your only options. Some insurance providers also offer exclusive provider organization (EPO) and point of service (POS) coverage. An EPO requires the use of the plan's network of providers only. POS plans allow you to use any provider—but give you the option of paying less for an in-network service. 

Contact a local health insurance service to learn more.