HMO insurance programs tend to be very structured
and certain rules have to be followed in order to prevent
incurring charges additional to your premiums. Most additional
charges are incurred when a member visits a physician,
hospital or other treatment center that is not a part
of the HMO network.
Because of this potential issue, HMO members are usually
required to choose a Primary Care Physician (PCP). A PCP
(sometimes called primary care provider) is responsible
for treating the HMO member's minor health problems. They
are also responsible for recommending in-network doctors,
specialists, and hospitals for treatments outside of their
specialty or capabilities.
The trick to getting the best out of your HMO insurance
provider is to read the fine print and always be prepared.
You should make sure that you have an in network doctor
referred by your PCP in each specialty, even before there
are problems. Remember the point of health insurance is
to save you money on preventative and emergency treatments.
You should select a hospital of choice that is in your
network and have backup hospitals in the surrounding areas
of your city. Also, doctors can be removed from an HMO
network so you should confirm the doctors membership before
proceeding with treatment unless in cases of emergency.
If you are traveling, be sure to contact your HMO insurance
provider and inform them of your trip and get information
on your coverage in the event you have to seek treatment
away from home. Some HMO insurance providers are not sensitive
to previously existing health conditions so this should
be considered when choosing a provider.
Read the fine print
Be sure to discuss the terms of your premium. It is important
to know what factors affect your rates. Some HMO insurance
providers rates go up with a person's age or if a person
is stricken with an illness that requires a lot of costly
treatment. These are things you should know before it
is too late.
Use Your Health Insurance
The most important thing to remember, is to use your
program. Don't wait for symptoms to become evident before
you see a doctor. Visit a specialist of each type at least
once a year. The truth is most general practitioners are
not always thorough in their examinations.
A specialist is trained to look for certain symptoms
that are treated in their field of medicine. An example
of a good specialist to see is a dermatologist. With the
increasing effects of the sun's damaging rays, it is important
that you have a dermatologist inspect your skin for signs
of melanoma and other potential problems.
State Health Insurance Regulations
The government has set in place certain restrictions to protect
consumer rights. To find out what state regulations are
in place to help protect you from insurance fraud and
what you should be aware of when choosing a health insurance
provider, click your state link.
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