Blue Cross Blue Shield advertises that its preferred provider organization plans offer greater flexibility than other plans. With PPO health insurance plans, participants have the choice of choosing an in-network or out-of-network provider. Choosing the in-network provider lowers the amount of the copay.
Preferred provider organizations, health maintenance organizations and exclusive provider organizations are three common types of health insurance offered through Blue Cross. While all of these types of plans use a network, they differ in the way the subscriber interacts with the network, reports Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
With the HMO plan, the subscriber chooses a primary care physician, indicates Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. With the exception of women needing to see obstetricians or gynecologists, all patients first see their primary care physicians for all health care issues. If necessary, the primary care physician refers the patient to an in-network specialist.
The EPO plan offers some of the flexibility of PPO plans but does not cover out-of-network care except in the case of an emergency, according to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. The plan does not require the subscriber to choose a primary care physician, nor does it require a referral for a specialist.