What is an HMO?


What is a HMO?

The financial term of the day is: "HMO."

HMO stands for "health maintenance organization." That's a fancy way of referring to a very common type of health insurance plan that usually puts some restrictions on the doctors who can treat you. You can't choose just any M.D. out of the phone book. You must stick to a list of docs who work for the HMO or are under contract. Oh, you could make an appointment with another doctor who's not approved by the HMO, but you might wind up paying for that decision -- literally. The out-of-network care may not be covered.

With an HMO, you're like a dating teenager, and the health insurer is a strict parent telling you whom you can and can't see.

To find out more about health insurance, visit the insurance section at



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