Background on Types of Plans and How They Work

There are several different health insurance plans available to State of Iowa employees. The following is a list of the plans and a brief description of the characteristics of each type of plan.  More information about specific features of each plan can be found in the 'Enrollment Guidebook'.
Plan type 
Plan name
Plan description*
Traditional Fee for Service (FFS)
  • Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield 3+
  • Use any doctor or hospital 
  • Usually have higher coinsurance rates 
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)
  • Select 2000 (now renamed Iowa Select)
  • Similar to fee for service except plan has a network of providers to choose from 
  • Less expensive to see network providers but can choose one from outside the network at a greater cost 
  • Lower copayments for services provided within the network. 
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or Organized Delivery System (ODS)
  • Principal Primary 
  • Principal Open Access
  • Secure Care (ODS) 
  • John Deere Health Plan 
  • Unity Choice (now renamed Blue Advantage) 
  • Generally requires use of doctor or hospital in a network of providers 
  • Usually more expensive to choose a physician outside the network than in a PPO 
  • There are usually lower deductibles and copayments than for FFS or PPO.

[ How to use this report[ Background information about the health plans ]  [ Survey Information ]

[ Summary of health plan ratings ]  [ Rating of health plan quality and doctors ]  [ The health plan ]
[ Medical office staff ]  [ Getting the care you need when you need it ]  [ Doctors and medical care ]

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