Preferred provider organization (PPO)

A preferred provider organization (PPO) is a type of plan with a limited group of health care providers (for example, doctors and hospitals) that have agreed to provide services to members enrolled in the PPO program.

In an PPO, you don't need referrals from a primary care physician (the doctor you choose to provide your health care services and refer you to specialists) as you do with an HMO. With a PPO, you can choose to see any doctor you wish, but you'll want to choose a doctor who's in your PPO network to avoid higher health care costs.