Q:

How do you compare types of federal employees' health benefits plans?

A:

Quick Answer

Compare federal employee health-benefit plans by evaluating the amount paid for each visit, the selection of providers employees can use and the payment options for health services, says the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Also consider the amount of paperwork required, if any, to file claims.

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Full Answer

Fee-for-service plans give employees the option of using a preferred provider organization, or PPO, according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Employees who opt out pay more out of pocket but are later reimbursed by the insurance. Through the health maintenance organization, or HMO, employees can choose care from a network of participating physicians and hospitals.These participants coordinate the employees' health care and do all the insurance paperwork themselves. Most HMOs request that patients choose a primary physician who then recommends specialists when necessary. HMOs with point-of-service functions allow employees to get care from physicians outside of their networks for slightly higher fees.

Consumer-driven health plan options give employees more freedom in how they spend their health care allowances. Employees receive free care up to a certain amount, and then pay higher fees after they have exceeded a predetermined limit, reports the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. These plans include tools such as the health reimbursement arrangement, or HRA, and the health savings account, or HSA, which allow employees to pay for medical expenses with pre-tax funds.

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