Choosing a Health Plan

Health care in America is changing rapidly. Twenty–five years ago, most people in the United States had indemnity insurance coverage. A person with indemnity insurance could go to any doctor, hospital, or other provider (which would bill for each service given), and the insurance and the patient would each pay part of the bill.

But today, more than half of all Americans who have health insurance are enrolled in some kind of managed care plan, an organized way of both providing services and paying for them. Different types of managed care plans work differently and include preferred provider organizations (PPOs), health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and point–of–service (POS) plans.

You've probably heard these terms before. But what do they mean, and what are the differences between them? And what do these differences mean to you?

Choosing a Health Plan Choosing a Health Plan
   What Are My Health Plan Choices?
   Where to Get a Plan
   What Benefits Are Offered?
   Important Components
   Comparing Plans
   Quality of Plans

Using Care
   How Can I Get the Most from My Plan?
   How Do I Obtain Care?
   What if I Have to Go to the Hospital?
   What if I Am Not Satisfied with My Care?