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How to pick a health insurance plan

Health insurance plan & network types: HMOs, PPOs, and more

There are different types of Marketplace health insurance plans designed to meet different needs. Some types of plans restrict your provider choices or encourage you to get care from the planโ€™s network of doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other medical service providers. Others pay a greater share of costs for providers outside the planโ€™s network.

Types of Marketplace plans

Depending on how many plans are offered in your area, you may find plans of all or any of these types at each metal level โ€“ Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Some examples of plan types youโ€™ll find in the Marketplace:
  • Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO):ย A managed care plan where services are covered only if you use doctors, specialists, or hospitals in the planโ€™s network (except in an emergency).
  • Health Maintenance Organization (HMO):ย A type of health insurance plan that usually limits coverage to care from doctors who work for or contract with the HMO. It generally won't cover out-of-network care except in an emergency. An HMO may require you to live or work in its service area to be eligible for coverage. HMOs often provide integrated care and focus on prevention and wellness.
  • Point of Service (POS):ย A type of plan where you pay less if you use doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers that belong to the planโ€™s network. POS plans require you to get a referral from your primary care doctor in order to see a specialist.
  • Preferred Provider Organization (PPO):ย A type of health plan where you pay less if you use providers in the planโ€™s network. You can use doctors, hospitals, and providers outside of the network without a referral for an additional cost.