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What is a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization)?

PPO stands for Preferred Provider Organization. PPO is a type of managed care plan that provides medical services through a contracted network of health care providers.

Among other managed care plans, PPOs give the most flexibility and freedom. PPO plans allow you to go to specialists without having to go through a PCP (primary care physician) for a referral. There is no need to select a PCP.

Similar to a POS arrangement, you have the option of seeking medical care outside the network. But if you stay within the network, you are rewarded with lower copayments. Going out of the network gives you minimal coverage. You will have to pay a bigger portion of the cost. You will also have to reach the deductible before your coverage kicks in. A deductible is the amount you have to reach by paying for your medical costs on your own until you meet the deductible.

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