Preferred Provider Organizations: a Viable Healthcare Option

No one really likes going to the doctor. It’s physically and mentally unpleasant-pin pricks, prodding, squeezing and severe anxiety as you wait for the results. So, why not choose a health plan that makes it all just a little simpler?

Preferred Provider Organizations (PPOs) offer a large network of doctors from which to choose, so when you’re seeking care, you have plenty of options. They usually cover preventative and well-child care, too. However, be aware of what your specific plan offers. Before choosing a policy, be sure your favorite doctor or your child’s pediatrician is in the network because seeking out-of network care can become rather costly.

Preferred Provider Organizations: a Viable Healthcare Option

You May Want a PPO If:

  • You’d like the option of seeking out-of-network care or making self referrals
  • You don’t mind making a co-payment-usually about $20-at the time of each visit
  • You don’t mind paying a yearly out-of-pocket deductible before your insurer will begin coverage
  • You’d like to benefit from discounted prescriptions and a large network of doctors from which to choose

Since there are fewer restrictions with PPOs, you can go out of network. However, you pay a larger percentage of the total cost at the time of your visit. You can also make self-referrals, sending yourself to an in-or out-of-network provider.

It’s important to realize that your medical expenses can get out of control quickly if you opt out of the network too often. Most PPOs give you enough options that you don’t need to seek out-of-network care. But even when you stay in-network, a PPO is slightly more expensive than the more restrictive plans.

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