There are usually two main types of 'managed care' plans from which to choose: an HMO or a PPO. An HMO is a Health Maintenance Organization, while PPO stands for Preferred Provider Organization.
The major differences between the two plans is the cost, size of the plan network, your ability to see specialists, and coverage for out-of-network services.
When you're choosing a plan, you should consider your total health care costs, not just the monthly premium you'll pay to an insurance company every month. The premium is important, but other amounts, sometimes lumped together as "out-of-pocket" costs, can affect your total spending on your health care, and can sometimes be more than a monthly premium. Among the "out-of-pocket" costs to consider are the deductible, copayments and coinsurance, and if there is an "out-of-pocket" maximum to your plan.
The deductible is how much you have to spend for covered services before the insurance company pays for anything other than free preventive services, such as an annual physical. Copayments and coinsurance are payments you make whenever you get a medical service after you've reached your deductible.
And the "out-of-pocket" maximum is the most you'll have to spend personally for covered services in a year. After reaching it, if your plan has one, the insurance company will pay 100% for covered services.
The main differences between an HMO plan and a PPO plan are: