Health Maintenance Organization

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Health Maintenance Organization

Commonly called an HMO. A nonprofit organization that offers health insurance to a group of persons and charges members of the group the same monthly premium. Most HMOs require policyholders to have a primary physician who provides referrals for specialists and other medical services. Without these referrals, medical care generally will not be covered. This fact has made HMOs somewhat controversial. However, they generally operate at a lower out-of-pocket cost to consumers. They trace their origins to the early 20th century, but became more popular after the Health Maintenance Organization Act of 1973.
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