Health Insurance Options
The PPO, (or Preferred Provider Organization), and HMO, (or Health Maintenance Organizations), belong to a network of physicians to choose from. Only the HMO requires you to choose one of their doctors as your Primary Care Physician (PCP). With the PPO you have more freedom to choose your doctor, but by using one “out-of-network” will raise the co-payments.
The premiums are higher for the PPO, making the HMO the least expensive. The POS is a combo of the two.
Another option is an HDHP, or High Deductible Health Plan. This may not seem like a low cost option, but after you pay the annual high deductible, your benefits will kick in. Plus, the premiums are much lower than average from the beginning. After enrolling in this type plan you qualify for an HSA, or Health Savings Account, which lets you to save up tax-free money for medical expenses – such as alternative healing treatments/procedures, eye care and chiropractor therapies. The HSA also allows you withdraw the money accumulated for other purposes once you reach retirement age.
If you’re shopping around and comparing individual health insurance plans, it might seem easy to get confused. After all, there are so many factors to keep track of, and so much fine print to read, many people never really understand what is and isn’t covered by their policy.
But all individual health insurance plans should offer similar terms and conditions. By knowing what these are, and what you need to protect your own health, you’ll be better able to choose the best coverage for you.
First, be prepared that in most cases individual health insurance plans are more expensive than employer based group plans. However, they should also be more variable and have options for you to choose from.
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