Dental insurance can be costly, so do some math before you decide on a plan. Call your dentist and ask if they’re in-network, which will help you save money.
There are many different types of plans available for patients to choose from. Two of these plans are a dental health maintenance organization (DHMO) and a dental preferred provider organization (DPPO). The main difference between these two plans is cost and flexibility.
What is a Dental HMO?
Dental HMO plans, also called DHMOs or Managed Care Plans, are insurance plans that provide low-cost coverage focusing on preventive care. Dental HMOs have networks of dentists with contracts with insurance companies to provide dental services at discounted rates for plan enrollees like other types of health insurance. Most DHMOs require patients to see in-network dentists and only cover out-of-network visits under certain circumstances.
DHMOs typically have lower monthly premiums than Dental PPO plans and usually don’t have a deductible. However, they do often have smaller networks of dentists, and they may require a referral from the patient’s primary care physician before the plan will pay for specialty dentistry services.
Moreover, HMO dental insurance in California offers a cost-effective option for residents seeking comprehensive dental coverage within a designated network of dentists and specialists.
Some DHMOs have annual maximums, the amount of covered costs the plan will pay yearly before the patient must start paying out-of-pocket. Most DPPOs have an annual maximum, while most HMOs do not.
Whether a DHMO or a DPPO plan is better for a specific situation depends on the needs and preferences of the individual. Both options offer some advantages, and each has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks. Each person needs to decide what is most important when choosing a dental plan and then compare different programs to find the one that meets those needs.
What are the Benefits of a Dental HMO?
HMOs typically feature lower monthly premiums than PPO or indemnity plans. However, they have a more restrictive network and require that you select a primary dentist who must provide referrals to specialists. Typically, the program will cover primary preventive care (exams, cleanings, and X-rays) with no copay and will have low-cost shares for other services such as fillings, crowns, or root canals. Most plans will also have annual caps, a maximum amount the insurance company will pay for covered services during a year.
Another advantage of Dental HMOs is that they often have no waiting periods. This is a significant benefit for people who need immediate or urgent dental treatment instead of those who can wait. It is essential to determine the specifics of any plans you are considering. Some may have short 3-month or 6-month waiting periods, while others have waits up to a year for certain services such as dentures and bridges.
Dental insurance can be purchased as an individual policy or as part of a group benefits package provided by your employer. You can find out about your options for coverage by visiting a website. The site will allow you to enter your coverage needs and get you a plan list within minutes.
What are the Benefits of a Dental PPO?
Compared to an HMO plan, PPO plans generally offer greater flexibility in dentist choice thanks to more extensive networks of providers. In addition, PPOs often have lower costs based on the fact that in-network dentists are negotiating discounted rates for enrollees.
However, PPO plans may have other cost structures that should be considered, such as a deductible or annual maximum. These costs should be reviewed carefully before choosing a PPO, especially if you’re considering an in-network dental specialist.
Most PPOs have an annual maximum benefit that caps how much the plan will pay for specific procedures, such as crowns or root canals, in a given year. If the cost of care exceeds this amount, it becomes your responsibility to cover the remaining charges.
It’s also important to note that if you choose an out-of-network dentist, your PPO may pay only a percentage of the procedure. This percentage is typically based on an industry concept known as the “usual, customary, and reasonable” fee (UCR). Your deductible, coinsurance, or policy maximum will still apply whether you stay in-network or out-of-network. After each visit, you should request an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) to learn the specifics of your out-of-network costs. A detailed EOB will help you understand the charges paid by your provider and how they compare to what your plan is paying for the treatment.
What are the Benefits of a Dental Indemnity Plan?
Dental insurance overcomes consumers’ top concern regarding dental care—cost. Unlike medical insurance with deductibles and annual maximums, most dental benefits are paid for in whole or at least at a reduced percentage cost (e.g., 80% for in-network services). This allows Members to see the Dentists they like and need while not worrying about the cost of their procedure.
The DHMO approach also encourages Members to visit the dentist regularly for preventive procedures, thus maintaining good oral health and minimizing the need for more expensive treatment in the future. Preventive procedures such as exams, x-rays, and prophylaxis cleaning are typically free or low-dollar copayments under the DHMO plan. For other treatments, the DHMO plan typically uses a flat fee copayment rather than a percentage of the allowed charge for out-of-network dentists.
The PPO plan offers a more extensive list of Dentists than an HMO, but typically at a higher monthly premium. PPO plans do not include a deductible or an annual maximum for general dentistry services like the HMO. However, like the HMO, PPO plans require a referral from a general dentist for specialty services such as orthodontics or oral surgery. When a patient has multiple dental insurance policies with coordination of benefits provisions, dental offices must verify each plan’s COB rules to determine primary and secondary coverage.