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We ensure that the plans provide the benefits described in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program brochures. The health plans often make Preferred Provider Agreements and other arrangements with providers which are contractual arrangements between the carriers and the providers.
Because of the discounts that a plan realizes through its contracts with PPO providers, the plan is able to reimburse a higher percentage of the negotiated PPO allowance when PPO providers are utilized. It would not be cost effective for the plan to reimburse at the higher level when the provider is not giving a discount. Furthermore, much of the benefit you receive from using PPO providers comes from the PPO provider's agreement not to bill you for more than the negotiated PPO allowance. Non-PPO providers are under no such obligation. In some areas of the country, it is much more difficult for a plan to arrange PPO contracts for all types of services. In areas where there are no PPO providers, you can still receive your plan's regular benefits, as opposed to the incentivized PPO benefit. If you are overseas, check with your plan to see how they pay the claims of non-PPO providers – some plans have special reimbursement allowances for overseas claims.
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