Health insurance in the U.S.A. frequently changes and is never to simple. Two different people may both have “Aetna PPO”, for example, but with different plans within that insurance company, because they work for different companies, or signed up for different levels. Therefore the same plan name may cover different physicians, procedures, and medications, and have different deductibles or fee schedules, so that two people who think they have the same insurance actually have very different medical bills.
For PPOs: Before seeing your physician for anything, check with their office as to the officially billed name or doctor’s name (often only the main doctor that owns the practice) that is billed to your insurance, then check with your insurance that this physician is covered. Ask ahead about any regular procedures for your child’s next check-up (like vision screening at 6 months old, and lead screening at 9-12 months old), then you can check with your insurance company ahead of time to make sure those individual procedures are covered benefits, and if not, how much they will cost.
For HMOs, your primary care physician name is on your insurance card, and you can only go to that person’s office for your primary care. You must also see this doctor in order to get an official referral before seeing a specialist or having any imaging or lab tests done.
Here are some handy blog links to help you learn more about insurance. Good luck!
Health Insurance Overview: Here and here.
Health Insurance Basics from the U.S. Government