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Point of Service (POS)

Last updated 29th Nov 2022
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Definition

The term point of service, or POS, is used to describe a managed health care plan that allows participants greater flexibility to seek out-of-network medical services. In-network medical assistance includes both general care as well as wellness programs.

Explanation

A point of service plan includes many of the features of health maintenance organizations (HMOs) as well as the flexibility of more-traditional indemnity (pay for service) plans.

In a point of service plan, the employee chooses a primary care physician; who is responsible for providing general medical care, administering preventative programs, and referrals to specialists. This care typically requires a relatively small copayment at the time of service.

The insured employee also has the option of seeking help outside of the POS network; however, this added flexibility comes at a cost to plan participants. When going out-of-network, the insured is usually responsible for paying both a deductible and a larger percentage of the medical services referred to as a coinsurance payment.

The added flexibility of the point of service plan means premiums would be higher than a health maintenance organization, but sill less than most preferred provider organizations.

Example

Linda participates in a point of service medical plan through her employer. The terms of that agreement call for copayments of $20 at the time of service. If Linda seeks medical care out-of-network, she must first satisfy a $1,000 deductible. Her insurance company will then pay 70% of fees, leaving Linda with a 30% coinsurance payment.

Earlier in the year, Linda went to her primary care physician for a routine examination. While that examination resulted in a $20 copayment, the examination also discovered a problem.

Linda decided she wanted to seek medical care out-of-network. The cost of that care was $5,000. Linda's out-of-pocket costs would be calculated as:

$5,000Total Invoice-$1,000Less: Deductible$4,000Amount Subject to Coinsurance-$1,200Less: Linda’s Obligation at 30%-$2,800Less: Insurance Company’s Obligation$0Remaining Balance

In the above example, Linda's total out-of-pocket expense would be the $1,000 deductible plus the $1,200 coinsurance payment or $2,200.

Related Terms

health maintenance organization, preferred provider organization, coinsurance, copayment, accountable care organization

Moneyzine Editor

Moneyzine Editor