Friday, September 30, 2011

What Is A Point of Service (POS) Health Insurance Plan?

If you have been actively researching online for the perfect health insurance plan then chances are good that you have come across the term Point of Service or POS as it's commonly abbreviated. This health plan is similar in many ways to a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) health care plan and a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) health care plan. In fact it almost offers the best options and benefits of both types of plans. For instance the PPO is not as restrictive as a traditional HMO and yet the over costs are cheaper when compared to a PPO, including the deductible portion of your health insurance bill.

Normally with a Point of Service health care plan the consumer will be asked to select a primary health care provider from a lists of preferred providers within the POS program. They will then receive all medical care from the doctor or medical specialist selected. Referrals to other specialty doctors and hospitals that are also part of the POS plan will originate and be directed by the primary health care provider. Although many consumers get slightly anxious or concerned with choosing from a list of doctors provided to them, especially if they have a hometown favorite doctor that they are more comfortable receiving medical assistance form, but the lower overall costs usually ease those anxieties. For instance the deductible is usually quite small and there is a minimal charge in the form of a co-payment for doctor visits and medical prescriptions. Perhaps the only drawback would be that a majority of the time you must use the generic brands of any prescriptions that you receive.


Aside from having your primary health care provider refer you to specialists within the plan you also have the option to refer yourself to a specialist or doctor outside of the Point of Sale health care plan but keep in mind this will warrant additional costs (sometimes as much as 50% higher), which will need to be covered out of your own pocket. The one exception to this would be if you were in an emergency medical situation that required immediate medical assistance. If you're truly looking for a health care plan that allows you to see your own doctor or health care provider then an indemnity plan is what you're actually looking for instead of a POS plan.

Another minor drawback to the POS plan that can be a minor or major nuisance (depending on your tolerance level and viewpoint) to some consumers is the fact that if you are referred to another specialist that's in the approved health care network you will still have to pay an additional amount. This can be an entire up front cost or a partial payment with both types requiring some form of reimbursement form your health insurance company or provider.

Many folks like the flexibility and cost that a Point of Service health care plan offers. Whether you do or not is entirely up to you and should be based on your current medical needs. If this plan isn't right for your health care needs don't panic, just remember that there are several other choices for your health care insurance.

What Is A Point of Service (POS) Health Insurance Plan?

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