How do HMO, PPO, and Indemnity health plans differ?

Choosing the best insurance plan requires evaluating your health status, identifying care preferences, contacting medical providers, and asking specific questions. A brief overview of HMO, PPO, and Indemnity options follows.

HMO - Health Maintenance Organization.

  • HMO plans focus on a regional network of doctors, hospitals, and health care providers.
  • A primary care physician oversees and coordinates your medical care within the network.
  • Out-of-network services are not covered except in emergencies.
  • HMO's typically cost less, but offer less flexibility.

PPO - Preferred Provider Organization.

  • These plans work best with in-network doctors, hospitals, and health care providers.
  • Covered individuals can receive care from out-of-network providers, but pay more out-of-pocket.

Indemnity - Fee for Service.

  • Covered individuals can obtain care from any doctor, hospital, or healthcare professional.
  • More flexibility typically means higher premiums.