Health insurance is offered in various forms today. Traditionally, health insurance plans were indemnity plans; the insured paid a premium, the physician provided health care services, the health insurance plan was billed, and the health insurance plan paid for covered services. As health care costs became astronomical, health insurance companies developed different plans that were aimed at providing quality health care at affordable prices. Managed health care became the buzzword for the health insurance industry, and health insurance plans became more complicated.
Health maintenance organizations, or HMOs, and preferred provider networks, or PPOs, have largely replaced the traditional indemnity health plan. HMOs and PPOs utilize strategies to contain health care costs. These health plans are similar in certain ways. Both HMO and PPO plans contract with health care providers to provide health care services at reduced rates for the health insurance plan members. Typically bot