Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs): Often the most affordable plans and require consumers to pick a Primary Care Physician (PCP). Consumers have coverage for only in-network doctors and most get referrals from PCPs to see a specialist.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): Similar to HMO plans but allow individuals to see out-of-network providers and still have coverage. Visiting out-of-network doctors is more expensive but provides flexibility for those who travel a lot or for those that may have children go away to school. PPO plans also allow patients to see specialists without a referral from a PCP. PPO plans can also be referred as high deductible health plans and can be paired with Health Savings Accounts (HSAs). HSAs are a great option for those who want to save tax-free money for medical expenses and these funds can even be used to pay the deductible.
Point of Service (POS): POS plans are a mixture of PPOs and HMOs. Consumers need to choose a PCP but still have coverage for out-of-network visits. These plans are typically more expensive than HMOs but provide more flexibility when it comes to getting health care outside of a given network or area.
There are also Fee for Service (FFS) plans but those are not as popular anymore. For FFS plans you would see a doctor, pay for the service immediately and then be reimbursed by the health insurance company.