Which Type of Health Insurance Is Right for You?

Armen Hareyan's picture
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For each group, choose the statement 1 or 2 that best describes how you feel:

  1. Having complete freedom to choose doctors and hospitals is the most important thing to me in a health plan, even if it costs more.
  2. Holding down my costs is the most important thing to me, even if it means limiting some of my choices.

  1. I travel a lot or have children that live away from me and we may need to see doctors in other parts of the country.
  2. I do not travel a lot and almost all care for my family will be needed in our local area.

  1. I don't mind a health insurance plan that includes filling out forms or keeping receipts and sending them in for payment.
  2. I prefer not to fill out forms or keep receipts. I want most of my care covered without a lot of paperwork.

  1. In addition to my premiums, I am willing to pay for the cost of routine and preventive care, such as office visits, checkups, and shots. I also like knowing that I can get an appointment for these services when I want one.
  2. I want a health plan that includes routine and preventive care. I don't mind if I have to wait for these services to be scheduled for an available appointment with my doctor.

  1. If I need to see a specialist, I probably will ask my doctor for a recommendation, but I want to decide whom to go to and when. I don't want to have to see my primary care doctor each time before I can see a specialist.
  2. I don't mind if my primary care doctor must refer me to specialists. If my doctor doesn't think I need special services, that is fine with me.

If your answers are mostly 1: You want to make your own health care choices, even if it costs you more and takes more paperwork. Fee-for-service may be the best plan for you.

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If your answers are mostly 2: You are willing to give up some choices to hold down your medical costs. You also want help in managing your care. Consider a health maintenance organization.

If your answers are some 1's and some 2's: You might want to look for a plan such as a preferred provider organization that combines some of the features of fee-for-service and a health maintenance organization.

The differences among fee-for-service plans, HMOs, and PPOs are not as clear-cut as they once were. Fee-for-service plans have adopted some activities used by HMOs and PPOs to control the use of medical services. And HMOs and PPOs are offering more freedom to choose doctors, the way fee-for-service plans do. By studying your health insurance options carefully, you will be able to pick the one that provides you with the coverage you need, no matter what it is called.

Managed Care: A Way to Control Costs

Managed care influences how much health care you use. Almost all plans have some sort of managed care program to help control costs. For example, if you need to go to the hospital, one form of managed care requires that you receive approval from your insurance company before you are admitted to make sure that the hospitalization is needed. If you go to the hospital without this approval, you may not be covered for the hospital bill.

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The source of this article is http://www.ahcpr.gov

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