What Medical Insurance Plans Fits You Best?

By: Ethan Kalvin

HMO, PPO or POS? If your employer offers more than one health plan, you might feel like you have an entire alphabet of choices. Understanding the basic features of each plan can help you make a smart decision.
If you are looking for a plan that you can get health care from a particular group of doctors, hospitals, labs and clinics, then an HMO, which stands for Health Management Organization may be the right one for you. This way you can stay in your network and your HMO will cover the care that you receive through them. If you can find a doctor in a certain network that works best for you then this is a great way to go, and it is also very affordable.
PPO (Preferred Provider Organization): Like an HMO, a PPO offers a network of doctors and other caregivers. If you stay in the PPO network, you will pay a low co-pay and deductible for your medical care. If you decide to go outside the network, the PPO will stay pay some of the costs, but you will have a higher co-pay and deductible. You may need approval from the PPO for some services whether you receive them in-network or not. PPOs work well for people who want some flexibility in their care. If your family doctor is not in an HMO, for instance, a PPO allows you to see the doctor and have some of the cost covered.
POS (Point of Service): A POS plan combines the convenience of an HMO with the flexibility of a PPO. For most people, a POS plan functions like an HMO. They choose an in-network doctor, and the doctor guides their care, including approving visits to other providers. When a person feels they need care outside the network, however, the POS plan functions like a PPO. The member can get the care they want by paying a higher percentage of the cost.
POS plans work well for families where one family member needs special services, while others can go to in-network doctors for their routine care.

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