How To Buy Insurance

    Different types of health insurance plans meet different needs. When you compare options, it’s important to understand how they are structured.

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    Organizations (HMOs) and Exclusive Provider Organizations (EPOs)

    HMOs and EPOs may limit coverage to providers inside their networks. A network is a list of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that provide medical care to members of a specific health plan. If you use a doctor or facility that isn’t in the HMO’s network, you may have to pay the full cost of the services provided.

    HMO members usually have a primary care doctor and must get referrals to see specialists. This is generally not true for EPOs.

    Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) and Point-of-Service plans (POS)

    These insurance plans give you a choice of getting care within or outside of a provider network. With PPO or POS plans, you may use out-of-network providers and facilities, but you’ll have to pay more than if you use in-network ones. If you have a PPO plan, you can visit any doctor without a referral.

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