PPO | Preferred Provider Organization

PPO insurance policies, or Preferred Provider Organization, are common options in employer-sponsored health care packages. Comparing PPO vs HMO, a Health Maintenance Organization requires the insured to receive treatment at a specific doctor's office while PPO plans allow you to seek care at just about any doctor. Compare PPO insurance quotes using our free tool below.

Are you looking for free insurance quotes?

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

Full Bio →

Written by

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jul 28, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different insurance companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by insurance experts.

PPO - Preferred Provider Organization

A Preferred Provider Organization, or PPO, is one of the most common types of insurance plans available.  PPO’s are typically common options in employer-sponsored health care packages, and it’s a popular choice for individual consumers thanks to its flexibility.  Unlike an HMO, which requires the insured to receive treatment at a specific doctor’s office, a PPO plan allows you to seek care at just about any doctor you wish without requiring a referral.

Most well-known insurance companies offer a PPO plan.  These policies are usually widely accepted by healthcare providers, and it’s typically very easy to find a doctor within the company’s network.  Depending on the policy, you should also be able to use your PPO plan when traveling to another state or even country: Even if an in-network provider is unavailable, the insurance should cover a portion of the out-of-network expenses.

How Preferred Provider Organizations Work

The insurance company will provide you with a list of in-network doctors and other healthcare providers.  You are encouraged to use one of these doctors, but are not required to select a primary care physician.  As long as the doctor you choose is within the insurance company’s network, you will receive the highest benefits available under your policy.  If you choose to venture outside of your insurer’s network, your insurance will pay a lower contribution but should still offer some coverage as long as the doctor accepts your PPO.

Under a PPO plan, you will generally have both an annual medical deductible and maximum out-of-pocket expense.  Certain services or treatments will also have a co-payment.  These figures vary between providers and will be a major determining factor in the overall price of the policy.  In general, policies with high deductibles and co-payments will have lower monthly premiums.  People with PPO plans may sometimes even qualify for a health savings account to help with insurance costs.

Your one-stop online insurance guide. Get free quotes now!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Pros and Cons of PPO Plans

The primary benefit of a PPO is its flexibility.  You can seek medical attention at almost any doctor you would like, and networks usually include a variety of providers.  Unlike an HMO, you do not need to select a primary care physician or receive a referral before obtaining medical care.  Thanks to recent legislation, some types of preventative care should be available to you without a co-payment under this type of policy; you’ll need to confirm with your provider first though to determine whether there are any limitations.

One major drawback to a PPO plan is cost.  Premiums can be very affordable, but PPO policies do tend to be a more expensive option over other plans like an HMO.  You can keep your premiums low by choosing a high-deductible policy and using a health savings account to save on taxes.   Many customers feel that the flexibility offered by a PPO is worth the extra expense, and these additional costs should be factored into the decision process when deciding on what type of plan to get.

Are you looking for free insurance quotes?

Your one-stop online insurance guide. Get free quotes now!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption