A Look at Blue Cross PPO
An In-Depth Take on Blue Cross PPO
A PPO health care option can be a great way to get the coverage you need at a price that you can afford, and Blue Cross is, at the risk of sounding biased, one of the better health care providers in California for a variety of reasons.
Before signing up for a Blue Cross PPO plan, however, you should take the time to make sure that they really are the right provider for you. We can't presume to tell you what will work best for your needs or for your budget, but we can give you the facts and let you go from there. Here's what you need to know about Blue Cross PPO plans before signing up with the company:
A Brief History of Blue Cross
The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association comes from two separate entities, being Blue Shield and Blue Cross. Together they comprise 38 different health insurance corporations and are collectively known as BCBSA. Blue Cross is the younger of the two halves of the organization, dating back to 1960 where Blue Shield dates back to 1929.
The difference between the two halves of the organization is simple: Blue Shield has traditionally covered physician's services while Blue Cross has traditionally covered hospital services. While it's harder to determine what a Blue Cross policy will cover that a Blue Shield policy won't and vice versa, there are still echoes of this division, as in the simple fact that Blue Cross offers Preferred Provider options, for instance.
Today, Blue Shield remains a non-profit organization while current tax codes do not extend that same classification to all Blue Cross corporations. Be that as it may, many Blue Cross policies still fall more in line with what you would expect from a non-profit health insurance provider.
Getting the Best Price
It's interesting to note that Blue Shield was the very first private health insurance company to make its own proposal for health care reform. The state of health care as it has been in the US for several decades is very corporate-friendly and customer-unfriendly, favoring shareholders over the safety and well-being of its patients. Blue Shield and Blue Cross have flown in the face of that approach to selling insurance time and again and, due to legally fixed pricing in the California health care industry, Blue Cross can guarantee some of the most affordable PPO plans in the entire Golden State.
How Blue Cross PPO Works
Blue Cross PPO is California's Preferred Provider Organization branch of the BCBSA, offering plans that are cost-managed by virtue of centering around a preferred healthcare provider.
While a PPO does not necessarily restrict its members to a single physician, the basic idea is that physicians will offer their services at a discount in exchange for the PPO's providing them with a steady stream of patients. This means that members get a lower price for services when they stay within Blue Cross PPO's network of healthcare providers.
PPO vs. HMO
Generally speaking, HMO's offer similar services with greater discounts, but PPO's are often preferred for the greater flexibility they provide. It is ultimately a matter of choice and a matter of budget. Neither method of obtaining health coverage is inherently superior to the other.
Buying a Policy
While Blue Cross is a preferred health insurance provider for many Californians, it may not be in your best interests to simply jump at the opportunity to sign up for a policy with Blue Cross PPO without first doing some research and comparing their prices and policies to those offered by their competitors.
As of the time of this writing, Blue Cross PPO offers some of the very best health insurance policies at the very best prices, it is uncertain what the health insurance landscape will look like in California after all of the upcoming healthcare reform changes go into effect, and as always, you should never buy an insurance policy without first comparing quotes.