Differences Between Plan Types

Types of health insurance: HMO, PPO, POS, & more

If you're confused about the alphabet soup of health insurance plans, here's what you need to know.

There are many choices for health insurance. Here's the breakdown:

  • Health maintenance organizations (HMOs): All services are through a contracted network of healthcare providers and facilities.
  • Preferred provider organizations (PPOs): You see whatever in-network physician or healthcare provider you wish without first requiring a referral from a primary care physician.
  • Exclusive provider organizations (EPOs): Combine the flexibility of PPO plans with the cost-savings of HMO plans and you don't need referrals for specialists.
  • Point-of-service (POS) plans: You have more freedom to choose your doctor.
  • High-deductible health plans (HDHPs): Is a health insurance plan with lower monthly premiums and higher deductibles than a traditional health plan. A high-deductible plan may also be linked to health savings accounts (HSAs) which can help to offset costs with pre-tax dollars.