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FAQs on HMO Plans

What is an HMO plan?

The health maintenance organization is commonly referred to as HMO. An HMO plan is any organized health care plan apart from the customary healthcare insurance company that provides HMO insurance for your healthcare requirements. There are a few HMO insurance plans that have a rigid structure that ensures that all healthcare BPO are only provided in HMO hospitals/clinics, by the employees of HMO. However, there are other HMO health insurance plans that have mutual agreements with independent, healthcare centers, hospitals, healthcare physicians and other healthcare BPO providers.

What are the different types of HMOs?

There are different types of HMO medical insurance plans, namely, the staff model, the group model, the independent practice association and the network model.

Group Model

In the HMO group model, the healthcare maintenance organization will pay the physician group and not pay healthcare physicians. After receiving the payment from the healthcare maintenance organization, the physician group will decide how to allocate the money among the individual physicians in the group. The group model has a closed-panel, wherein the group of healthcare physicians can only provide healthcare BPO for HMO health insurance patients.

Network Model

The network model in HMO is the most widely used model among managed care organizations that also support other businesses. In the network model, the healthcare maintenance organization will sign a contract with different combinations of groups, such as, individual healthcare physicians and IPAs.

Staff Model

The staff model in HMO is also an example of a closed-panel HMO, wherein the healthcare physicians can only provide treatment for HMO medical insurance patients. In the staff model, the healthcare physicians are salaried employees and hold offices in HMO buildings.

Independent Practice Association

The independent practice model (IPA), is a an open-panel HMO model, wherein healthcare physicians can hold independent offices and can also provide healthcare BPO for patients who are not part of a HMO plan.

How to decide whether your organization needs a HMO plan?

Before deciding on an HMO plan, make sure that the HMO plan will provide for your organization's future requirements. You must also ensure that the HMO plan is reliable and that it can cater to your healthcare organization's special needs. In case, your organization already has providers and specialists, find out if your organization can continue to use them if you take an HMO health care plan. Before joining a HMO plan, also check if the HMO in your area has been providing quality healthcare BPO in the past. Another thing to check would be the cost of the HMO plans and find out if the cost of the HMO plan is reasonable.

What are the benefits of an HMOs?

There are several benefits of having an HMO plan. A person, who has an HMO plan, can get services from a primary care provider who would know details about the person's social, financial, family and personal situations. The primary healthcare provider will then organize the person's healthcare in a way in which fewer services will be used.

Another benefit of having an HMO plan is that your primary healthcare provider will be available to provide you with basic healthcare BPO and healthcare BPO for common illnesses. Your primary healthcare provider will also conduct tests and prescribe treatments before sending you to a specialist for specialized treatment.

If you have a healthcare plan, but require the help of a specialist, you can go to a member of a network that has contracted work with a healthcare maintenance organization. An expanded healthcare maintenance organization network usually consists of specialists such as, physical therapists, dentists, educators, psychotherapists, healthcare organizations and pharmacies.

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