HMOs are a popular form of health insurance because of their affordability. However with any type of coverage there are pros and cons. In this article we will be discussing what an HMO is and some of the pros and cons associated with them.
HMO stands for health maintenance organization. With this type of plan members pay a fixed amount each month for a variety of healthcare services. In exchange for your monthly premium payments you can get services such as doctor visits, hospital stays, lab tests, x-rays, emergency care, surgery and more. The services you get are quite comprehensive and often require very small co-payments, if any at all.
While HMO medical insurance can provide many different services at affordable prices there are also some drawbacks to this type of coverage. And HMO is much more restrictive than many other types of medical coverage. In most cases members will be required to choose a primary care doctor and this doctor would then be in charge of all of your medical care. Seeing a specialist or visiting a doctor or hospital outside of the network may be difficult or impossible so in exchange for a variety of services offered and the reasonable prices there is not much flexibility with your treatment options.
HMOs have also been criticized for being more concerned with their bottom line and making money than they are with the health and well-being of their patients. Many doctors are not happy that the decision making is often taken out of their hands and important decisions about a patient’s health care are made by the HMO itself in order to save money.
There are laws in place to help protect patient’s rights and new legislation is being introduced all the time but the struggle between taking care of patients and remaining profitable will probably go on forever.
No system is perfect, there are pros and cons to everything in life and HMO medical insurance is no different. They do offer a wide range of services at affordable prices and that is why they are among the most popular types of coverage.