Choosing a health care plan is an important decision. You can choose a HMO, PPO, or Fee-for-service plan. Depending on your needs and the size of your family, you may want to consider all the options. There are also a number of different health care options for businesses, including small business health options programs. These programs are designed to help businesses choose a plan that suits their needs and budget.

Fee-for-service plans

Having a fee-for-service health care plan means paying a provider directly for each service. This can be expensive, especially if the insurer requires you to pay the full cost of your treatment upfront. Some plans require you to pay an annual deductible.

These plans also have administrative fees, which are paid to an insurance company and increase the cost of the plan. Patients must also provide medical records as documentation to get reimbursed. A lengthy bill for individual services can be hard to understand.

The fee-for-service model places emphasis on the quantity of services rather than the quality of care. This can lead to unwarranted use of high-cost services. Physicians are unwilling to curtail such utilization.

The fee-for-service model has been blamed for healthcare inflation. Governments have attempted to limit overall increases in fee schedules. However, progress is limited.

The Affordable Care Act aims to provide sound consumer protection, support routine necessary services, and encourage innovation and disruption. However, it also recognizes that the traditional business model for health care plans isn’t right for all consumers.

A new payment model called value-based payment reimburses for the value of services. This could drive costs down and ensure a more equitable system. These new models would also improve care by reimbursing physicians based on the quality of services provided.

However, there are inherent problems with alternative payment methods. First, a provider must have a well-designed system to identify, classify, and record patients. This system can also help mitigate inappropriate volume expansion. Second, a reimbursement plan must have a fee schedule that defines conditions of payment. This schedule will ensure that basic quality standards are met.


Choosing to join an HMO is an option that could help you lower the cost of healthcare. HMOs provide medical care through a network of physicians and hospitals. HMOs usually focus on treating chronic conditions and preventive care. However, they also have a few drawbacks that you should be aware of before enrolling in one.

The most obvious drawback is that the care you receive will be limited to services offered by in-network providers. The costs of non-network care can be more expensive than the cost of the care you receive from in-network providers.

HMOs also typically have higher deductibles than PPOs. The deductible is a certain amount you will need to pay each year before your health insurance coverage begins to kick in.

Some HMOs require that you select a primary care provider (PCP) to manage your health care. This primary care provider (PCP) may be your primary care physician or a specialist. Your PCP determines whether you need special care and may refer you to a specialist.

If you are a patient with a chronic condition, you may prefer the ease of seeing a specialist right away. However, you should be aware that most HMOs don’t cover services provided by specialists outside the network.

Another drawback is that you may be required to pay a copay for medical services. A copay is a fixed dollar amount that you pay to receive services from your primary care physician or other in-network provider.

Copayments are usually higher for emergency care. If you use out-of-network services, you will need to pay for them until the amount of your plan deductible is reached.


Whether you are interested in an individual or family health insurance plan, PPOs are an option to consider. They combine some of the cost-saving features of HMOs with more flexibility and options for healthcare providers.

If you have a PPO, you can see any doctor, and you can use any hospital. However, you will pay a higher co-pay for visits to providers outside the PPO network. In most cases, the benefits of seeing a provider outside the network aren’t as great as seeing one in the network.

The PPO model is different from the more common managed care plans, which generally require a referral from your primary care doctor before visiting a specialist. However, you may be surprised to learn that you don’t have to have a referral to see a dermatologist for a mole.

In a PPO, the deductible is the amount of health care services that you will receive during the year. In addition to deductibles, you may also be required to pay a co-pay for a particular medication or service. Depending on your plan, you may be able to choose from a network of providers that includes many hospitals in many states.

However, a PPO plan does have its downsides. The main one is cost. PPOs tend to have higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs, which can make them a poor choice for some people.

PPOs also require pre-authorization for certain types of care. This is to ensure that you don’t waste money on expensive treatments and procedures. For example, you may need to get physical therapy before undergoing knee surgery. Similarly, you may need to pre-authorize prescriptions for more expensive brand-name drugs.

Small business health options programs

Designed to help small businesses lower their healthcare costs, Small Business Health Options Programs (SB-SHOPs) allow employees to choose a health plan from among several insurers. They also offer employees tax credits based on their contributions.

These plans are offered by more than 2,500 employers in New York City, Long Island, Rockland, Westchester, and Dutchess counties. These plans offer a variety of attractive benefits including access to wellness centers and discounts on out-of-pocket medical costs for in-network providers.

The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) offers a variety of Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) in an exchange that small businesses can use. The exchange offers side-by-side comparisons of plans and allows small businesses to choose an insurer or group of insurers that will meet their specific needs.

Health insurance rates vary by provider and by industry. Premiums are also based on prior health claims. In addition to health care, small businesses may also be eligible for subsidies. Those eligible may choose from a wide variety of health plans including group health plans, individual health plans, and health savings accounts.

In order to be eligible to participate in a SHOP, a small business must have one employee or less, have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees, and have met the contribution requirements. Small business owners can apply for SHOP coverage anytime by completing an online application or a paper application.

The SHOP exchange is part of the ObamaCare exchange and offers a variety of Qualified Health Plan options. The Exchange also allows small businesses to pool together and buy health insurance.

Small business health options programs are federally facilitated and operated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). These programs are designed to help small businesses and their employees lower their group health insurance costs.

Managed care

Whether you’re thinking about joining a health plan, or if you’re already an insured, you should know that the vast majority of privately insured Americans are enrolled in some form of managed care. The purpose of managed care is to reduce costs while still delivering high-quality health care.

A health maintenance organization, or HMO, is a health insurance plan that focuses on a network of doctors and medical facilities. Plans can have various benefits, but most offer lower costs and lower deductibles. Some plans also allow members to see out-of-network providers for emergency care.

A point-of-service (POS) plan is a hybrid of an HMO and a PPO. A POS plan allows for out-of-network care, but requires that you choose a primary care physician.

A managed care organization may use a variety of techniques to manage costs, including selective contracting, utilization review, and financial incentives. For example, a plan may require that a primary care physician perform regular check-ups to help identify health issues early. It may also require pre-authorization for certain services.

Managed care plans also offer members access to a “preferred” network of physicians and hospitals. These providers have agreed to provide services at reduced rates. A managed care organization may require that providers meet certain quality standards or limit the number of services they offer.

Unlike a PPO, a managed care plan may also have a high deductible. These plans incentivize consumers to choose cheaper providers and use less healthcare. The plan may also limit the number of services that are covered, such as preventive care. A managed care organization may also discourage patients from seeking care at expensive teaching hospitals, and may require pre-authorization for services at hospital emergency rooms.