What's a Point of Service FEHB Plan?

Some HMOs provide a Point of Service (POS) option under which you may, by paying a deductible and coinsurance, use any doctor or hospital. Our comparisons indicate which HMO plans offer this benefit, which is essentially identical to the fee-for-service benefit in national plans. In effect, these HMOs operate as dual plans, in which you can go to any doctor of your choice if you pay a deductible and coinsurance. In most cases the deductible is $250 or $300, and you pay coinsurance of 25 or 30 percent. These arrangements allow you to join an HMO, get most of your health care with little out-of-pocket cost, but preserve the ability to go out of plan "just in case" you want a doctor not participating in the plan. In other words, if you join an HMO with a POS benefit, you get essentially the same choices as if you join a national plan with both PPO and FFS benefits. Some HMOs offer this benefit limited to college students while away from home.