Medicare Advantage plans come in different types and are identified by acronyms such as PPO, HMO, POS, HMO-POS, and more. Understanding the differences between these plans and their various options is crucial.
HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) and PPOs (Preferred Provider Organizations) are the most commonly known Part C plans. There are also POS (Point of Service) plans that are less popular. POS plans can be added to an HMO plan, providing some benefits of a PPO plan.
A Point of Service plan enables its members to receive care from providers outside of the plan’s network, but with less coverage and higher out-of-pocket expenses. However, there is still some coverage. POS plan members must still designate a primary care physician and receive a referral before seeing a specialist.
Benefits of a Medicare Advantage HMO-POS Plan
Original Medicare offers important benefits for older adults, but it doesn’t cover everything. That’s where Medicare Advantage plans come in. Depending on the plan chosen, Medicare Advantage offers a range of benefits, including coverage for necessary services. HMOs and PPOs are the most popular types of Part C plans, but HMO-POS plans offer lower premiums and some flexibility in choosing providers.
All Medicare Advantage plans must provide at least as much coverage as Original Medicare, with many plans including additional benefits like dental, vision, and hearing services, as well as prescription drug coverage. HMO-POS plans replace Original Medicare and offer extra benefits, with some coverage for out-of-network providers.
HMO-POS plans provide a mix of the features of HMO and PPO plans, offering more flexibility than an HMO plan but generally lower premiums than a PPO plan. However, the limitations and restrictions of HMO-POS plans may vary depending on the insurance company offering the plan.
Differences Between HMO-POS & PPO Advantage Plans
An HMO-POS Medicare Advantage plan requires its members to select a primary care physician who coordinates all of their medical care. Although this plan option offers greater flexibility in terms of providers, it is particularly suitable for those who travel frequently.
For instance, let’s suppose you reside in Nevada and are planning an extended trip to Utah, but you have a few medical issues and anticipate requiring medical attention while on your trip. Before your departure, you will collaborate with your primary care physician, who will assist you in locating a Utah-based doctor who is part of your plan’s network. If you only have an HMO plan, this would not be feasible since you would only have coverage in Nevada.
In contrast, Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans generally do not necessitate the selection of a primary care physician and allow members to see a specialist without a referral. This is the opposite of what is required with HMOs.
Higher monthly plan premiums correspond to better benefits. Medicare Advantage PPO healthcare plans have higher monthly premiums than HMO-POS plans.
Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Coverage
Part D is the Medicare plan that specifically provides prescription drug coverage as a stand-alone benefit. It requires a separate monthly premium and deductible. However, many Medicare Advantage plans already include drug cost coverage similar to what is offered in Part D.
When selecting an HMO-POS Part C plan, it is important to determine if it includes prescription drug coverage. If it does, the individual should review the formulary to ensure that their prescriptions are included in the plan. A Prescription Drug List, or formulary, is a list of the most commonly prescribed medications, both generic and brand-name, that have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Formularies usually group drugs into tiers based on their costs.
Medicare Advantage plans that have Part D coverage are known as MAPD plans.
What is a Part C HMO-POS Plan?
A Part C HMO-POS plan is a type of Medicare Advantage plan that can replace an individual’s Original Medicare benefits. This plan is a Health Maintenance Organization plan that also has a Point of Service option (HMO-POS).
This type of plan is a combination of traditional HMO and PPO plans, providing more flexibility than a typical HMO while also allowing members some coverage while traveling. Although it allows for out-of-network benefits, members will have to pay more out-of-pocket if they go outside the plan’s network, similar to how a PPO operates.
The HMO-POS Structure
As previously mentioned, HMO-POS plans are a hybrid of HMO and PPO plans. Unlike traditional HMO plans, HMO-POS plans offer their members some coverage if they receive care from an out-of-network provider, but at a higher cost.
Since Medicare Advantage plans are offered by private insurance companies, each plan has its own set of rules and guidelines. Most HMO-POS plans allow members to receive healthcare services outside of their local area when traveling, but they must still choose a primary care physician in their home location to coordinate their care. This eliminates the stress of finding a provider while traveling, and ensures that continuity of care is maintained, as their primary care physician is kept up-to-date on any healthcare services received while away.
In contrast, traditional HMO plans do not offer coverage outside of their local service area except in emergency situations.
Medicare Advantage HMO-POS Eligibility & Enrollment
Medicare beneficiaries who have enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B can apply for a Medicare Advantage HMO-POS plan, except for those who have been diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Enrollment can occur during the Initial Enrollment Period, the Annual Enrollment Period, or a Special Enrollment Period, depending on the individual’s circumstances.
However, it’s important to note that Medicare Advantage HMO-POS plans may not be available in all areas. Working with a licensed agent can help individuals determine which plans are available in their specific location.
Finding the Best Policy
A licensed agent can assist you in selecting the most suitable Medicare policy based on your lifestyle and health. They will ask you a series of questions and present you with options that meet your requirements. They have access to various plans from different carriers, so you can select the most suitable one.
Once you have made your selection, the agent will guide you through the enrollment process and handle all necessary paperwork. Their services do not end there, as they will keep in touch during important enrollment periods to ensure that you still have the best plan available. These services are provided at no cost to you.
The Best Part C Option for You
Selecting the right Part C plan can be challenging. You should ask yourself several questions to determine the most suitable type of plan for your needs. Do you frequently travel? Are your current doctors in the plan’s network? If not, are you willing to switch to network providers? How often do you need to consult with a specialist? These are crucial considerations to help you make an informed decision.
Alternatives to HMO-POS Plans
If you are someone who doesn’t travel frequently and has in-network doctors, an HMO plan could be a more cost-effective option due to its lower monthly premiums. But if you travel often and prefer to have more freedom in choosing your healthcare providers, a PPO plan may be a better fit, even though it typically comes with higher monthly premiums.