Independence Provider Hub  

PPO tiered networkCommercial PPO tiered network plans

PPO tiered network plans are available for large group (51+) customers. The plans give customers another way to lower costs while providing their employees with access to high-quality, affordable care.

The PPO tiered network is a broad access PPO network with no participating PPO providers excluded. All network PPO hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) were evaluated and assigned to one of two in-network benefit tiers based on cost and minimum quality standards:

  • Tier 1 — members pay the lowest cost-sharing for hospital and outpatient surgery services.
  • Tier 2 — members pay a higher cost-sharing for hospital and outpatient surgery services when compared to Tier 1.

The following provider types and services are subject to tiering:

  • Outpatient surgery at ASCs
  • Inpatient hospital admissions for medical and maternity care
  • Hospital-based outpatient radiology centers¹
  • Hospital-based outpatient labs¹

Frequently asked questions

All in-network PPO hospitals and ASCs were evaluated and assigned to one of two in-network benefit tiers based on cost and minimum quality standards. Please also note the following:

  • Only hospitals within the Independence Blue Cross (Independence) five-county service area (i.e., Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks, and Chester counties) were assigned benefit tier placements.
  • Hospitals within a health system were assigned the same benefit tier to keep member costs the same and reduce confusion.
  • Hospital-based outpatient radiology centers and labs are assigned the benefit tier of their affiliated hospital.
While all Personal Choice® PPO providers are included in the tiered network, only facility providers (hospitals, ASCs, hospital-based labs/radiology) are included in tiering.
As you do today, continue to use the Eligibility and Benefits Inquiry transaction on PEAR Practice Management through the Provider Engagement, Analytics & Reporting (PEAR) portal to verify your patients’ cost-sharing amount for eligible services. The transaction will display the appropriate cost-sharing amounts for each in-network tier. Therefore, to determine the appropriate amount of cost-sharing, you will need to know the benefit tier placement for the hospitals and ASCs to which you direct your patients for care.
In addition to using NaviNet Open to verify coverage, a unique ID card is issued to members enrolled in PPO tiered network plans to assist providers and members in recognizing the cost-sharing differences between in-network tiered services. ID cards display “PPO tiered network” (in the lower left corner) and member cost-sharing for primary care physician (PCP) office visit, specialist office visit (SPEC), emergency room (ER) visit, deductible (DED), and hospitalization (HOSP).

IBX member card.
Members can use the Find a Doctor tool or log in to the member portal on to look for Tier 1 providers. “Personal Choice Tiered” has been added to the Select a Plan drop-down menu. Hospitals and ASCs display with a Tier 1 or Tier 2 indicator, and additional information is provided for members regarding the lower out-of-pocket cost when using a Tier 1 provider.
The following provider types and services are not subject to tiering; therefore, member cost-sharing is the same across all in-network providers:
  • Primary care and specialist office visits
  • Emergency room
  • Urgent care centers
  • Non-hospital-based outpatient labs (LabCorp, independent labs)
  • Ambulance providers for emergency and non-emergency ambulance services
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapists
  • Injectable medications (included allergy injections)
  • Chemotherapy/dialysis
  • Skilled nursing facilities for skilled nursing care
  • Hospice
  • Home health care
  • Durable medical equipment
  • Mental health and substance abuse services
Independence will re-evaluate the benefit tier placements annually and will provide network providers with advance written notice of any changes to their benefit tier placement that will become effective on January 1 of the following year.
You will be reimbursed in accordance with your applicable payment rates for commercial products.
Learn more about the Personal Choice PPO tiered network and the full large group product portfolio.
Contact Us
If you have questions about the PPO tiered network or your benefit tier placement, please send an email to

¹Benefit tier placements for hospital-based outpatient radiology centers and labs follow their affiliated hospital. These hospital-based outpatient facilities were not evaluated separately from their affiliated acute care hospital.