I get my health insurance through my employer. It is considered a good benefit, although they keep raising the deductibles every year. I probably pay less than many people.
This year my employer suddenly decided to switch from Cigna (I had Open Access Plus/PPO) to United Healthcare. My primary physician works for only Cigna and if I choose UH, I will be paying him out of network. It's not a big problem for Dr.'s visits, which are about 3 per year, but the lab work could cost me a lot more, if it's done through Cigna. Their location is very convenient to me (less than 5 miles from work). With the change in the healthcare plan, my employer has retained only the HMO option with Cigna. I always thought of HMO as a bad option, and I always went for the most expensive one (OAP high/PPO) for more freedom, but now I am being forced to go for either HMO or for an out of network (if I use UH).
The cost difference in deductibles is not much (difference of about $10 per visit) but the out of network costs and maximums are quite different, if I need something more than routine.
The obvious question would be- why not change the primary physician? The answer is that it has taken me many years (more than 5) to find the right physician for me, after many dissatisfying experiences. In one case the physician I liked moved out of state after just one year. I am not willing to give up a doctor that fits my needs and go through the trial and error process for the next several years.
So the solution I am considering is using Cigna HMO. Does anyone have experience with this? How good or bad (or just OK) is it? My understanding is that with HMO I can only use a doctor/facility in state (Arizona), which is not a good thing if I am traveling and become sick or break a bone, etc. I am also concerned that many specialists (I have also found the right ones in each field that I need- so far it's been mostly for routine/annual check ups only) would refuse to accept HMO. Another disadvantage with HMO is that I will need a referral from the primary care physician, even if it's only for a routine checkup, while on my other insurance (ends June 30, 2014) I could directly contact any doctor/specialist I wanted to see.
Some questions will get answered in the on-site meetings we will be having in the next few days, but I would like to know from people that have had first hand experience with both Cigna HMO and/or United Healthcare (PPO). UH seems to be popular with employers these days, but it doesn't necessarily mean the patients/employees like it. Basically we have no choice, but I would like to choose lesser of the two evils (and those evils may still be better than what many people face for their insurance- count my blessings).