Types of Medical Plans
Depending on how many plans are offered in your area, you may find plans of any or all of these types at each metal level--Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Some examples of plan types you'll find in the Marketplace:
- Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO): A managed care plan where services are covered only if you use doctors, specialists, or hospitals in the plan's network (except in an emergency).
- Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): A type of health insurance plan that usually limits coverage to care from doctors who work for or contract with the HMO. It generally won't cover out-of-network care except in an emergency. An HMO may require you to live or work in its service area to be eligible for coverage. HMOs often provide integrated care and focus on prevention and wellness.
- Point of Service (POS): A type of plan where you pay less if you use doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that belong to the plan's network. POS plans require you to get a referral from your primary care doctor in order to see a specialist.
- Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): A type of health plan where you pay less if you use providers in the plan's network. You can use doctors, hospitals, and providers outside of the network without referral for an additional cost.
What is a PPO plan?
PPO plans, or "Preferred Provider Organization" plans, are one of the most popular types of plans in the Individual and Family market. PPO plans allow you to visit whatever in-network physician or healthcare provider you wish without first requiring a referral from a primary care physician.
How does a PPO plan work?
As a member of a PPO plan, you'll be encouraged to use the insurance company's network of preferred doctors and you usually won't need to choose a primary care physician. No matter which healthcare provider you choose, in-network healthcare services will be covered at a higher benefit level than out-of-network services. It's important to check if your provider accepts your health plan so you receive the highest level of benefit coverage.
You will probably have an annual deductible to pay before the insurance company starts covering your medical bills. You may also have a co-payment of about $10 - $30 for certain services or be required to cover a certain percentage of the total charges for your medical bills.
A PPO plan may be right for you if:
- You want the freedom to choose almost any medical facility or provider for your healthcare needs
- You want a portion of out-of-network claims to be covered by your insurance company
- You don't want to get referrals before visiting a specialist