Opinions About Health Plans

There are three basic health plans available: Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), the Participating Provider Option (PPO), and Traditional Indemnity (TI). If you receive health insurance through your employer or through an organization with which you are affiliated, you may not have a choice as to whether your health plan is an HMO, PPO, or TI. However, if you purchase an independent health insurance plan, the freedom to shop around usually brings with it the freedom to find the kind of health plan you want – HMO, PPO, or TI.

The kind of health insurance plan you choose depends on your opinions about each of the health plans available.

Many people consider TI health plans to be the best health plans because they are less restrictive than HMOs and PPOs. With a TI health plan, you can see any health care professional, as long as he or she is licensed, for any health condition covered under the health insurance policy. TI health plans are popular since they are more flexible and they offer more choices than HMOs and PPOs.

On the other hand, HMO health plans offer a network of health care professionals you can see and be covered for at a lower cost. With HMOs, you need to choose a primary care physician (PCP) who will be your main doctor; any other health care professionals you need to see within the network must first be approved by your PCP. He or she will then give you a referral.

PPO health plans also offer a network of health care professionals, but there is a bit more freedom when choosing the health care professionals you want to see. That freedom brings extra costs, but the opinions of some policyholders are that the extra cost is worth it.

When shopping for health insurance, take your health, finances, and the pros and cons of each health plan into consideration before you make your final choice.

By Elizabeth Newberry