EPO (Exclusive Provider Organization) health insurance in-depth overview
Having an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) means that the medical service providers you will receive care from should have signed up an agreement with the insurance company to allow offering you these services. This way EPO plans are somewhat similar to PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans, meaning that the person having such a plan can obtain inexpensive medical services at a facility that makes part of the EPO network. Still, if you choose to receive your medical care at a facility outside the network, a PPO plan will still cover your costs, only to a smaller extent. With most EPO plans, you won't receive any insurance coverage when visiting a specialist outside the network.
When you choose an EPO plan, you will instantly notice that the fees you are charged with by the medical service providers that have accepted to join your insurance company's network are significantly lower than those normally charged. So when you receive your health benefits within the EPO network, you can rest assured that the rates you will be charged for the services will be very advantageous and your insurance provider will pay for all the services you receive.
However, if you have a condition that none of the specialists making part of the EPO network can help you with and you are forced to seek medical attention outside of the network, make sure you have enough money because you will pay for the service to the full extent. This is because EPO plans do not include any services provided outside the selection of facilities and specialists that have an agreement with the insurance carrier. Moreover, in contrast with PPO and HMO plans that have fairly large networks of health service providers, EPO plans usually have a much smaller number of specialists and facilities being part of their network. This means that you have fewer professionals to choose from when you need medical attention.
In what concerns health service providers, their advantage in joining an EPO network is in the increased number of patients they work with. So instead of charging higher rates to a smaller number of patients, they charge lower rates for a much higher number of people and get more revenue as a result. This is especially useful to those providers who target themselves at a certain geographical area and want to get more people through group health insurance coverage plans. The insurance companies, which choose to provide EPO plans charge their customers with monthly premiums and act as mediators between the customers and the medical service providers.
As a conclusion, EPO plans would definitely be appealing to those looking for cheap health insurance and having no special medical needs such as pre-existing conditions. The group of people who will probably benefit the most from such plans are young healthy workers with no serious health risks. And those who will find EPO plans quite uncomfortable are older people with complicated conditions that need regular and special care from certain specialist, who may be outside the network. Think well before you purchase such a plan and make sure to shop around to get the best rates. Use health insurance quotes online or contact your agent to see what local providers can offer and start from there.