Affordable Alternatives to Individual Health Insurance

As a supplement to low cost health insurance, many people stand to benefit from using preferred provider networks, which pool the buying power of many consumers to negotiate discount prices for medical products and services, including prescription medications.

What is a Preferred Provider Organization Network?

Increasing numbers of consumers in the United States now participate in PPO health plans. A Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) network enables many consumers to pool their buying power in order to negotiate discounts with providers of medical products and services, sometimes including prescription medications. In effect, PPOs bring the cost advantages of very large purchasers of healthcare to private individuals.

The primary advantage of a PPO for may people is that it is not an insurance scheme. Therefore, anybody young or old — and regardless of medical history — can participate.

What Do They Cost?

PPOs are not cheap: most require a monthly fee of $20-$70 to participate. However, if your prescription medication or other medical costs are significant and you are not eligible to have those costs covered by individual health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, they can offer huge savings.

Again, because PPOs are not insurance schemes, they are available to anybody. The pricing for some schemes is based upon a flat fee covering the member, spouse, and children.

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