Get Well Soon: Picking a Plan

Do POSs or PPOs require PCPs? Woe is the new hire who must choose from a menu of health-care plans: a health-maintenance organization (HMO), preferred-provider organization (PPO), point-of-service program (POS) or fee-for-service plan (FFS). An explanation:

HMO Designed to lower costs by centralizing care. A member must choose a primary-care physician (PCP) from a network roster upon joining. He can visit this physician to his heart's content, unless his heart's content requires a cardiologist, in which case he'll need a referral. That's why PCPS are also called gatekeepers.

PPO No gatekeeper means more direct access to care. Recently, PPOS have emerged...

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