Types of Dental Plans
Dental PPO Plans
Dental PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans offer a network feature and usually offer a balance between lower costs and dentist choice. PPO dentists participate in the network thereby agreeing to accept contracted fees as payment in full rather than their usual fee for patients with the PPO. When you visit a PPO dentist, you typically pay a certain percentage of the reduced rate (called coinsurance) and the plan pays the rest. The percentage usually varies by the type of coverage such as diagnostic and preventive, major services, etc. For example, preventive services may be covered at 80% (you would pay 20%), while crowns and bridges may be covered at 50%. PPOs usually require you to meet a deductible and have an annual maximum amount of coverage (example: $1,000 per year). While you typically have the lowest out-of-pocket costs if you visit a PPO dentist, the plan allow you to visit the dentist of your choice, even if she is not in the network.
Dental HMO or Prepaid Plans
Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) plans, also referred to as pre-paid plans, require you to choose one dentist or dental facility to coordinate all of your oral health needs. If you need to see a specialist, your primary care dentist will refer you; specialty care may require pre-authorization.
A typical DHMO-type plan doesn’t have any deductibles or maximums. Instead, when you receive a dental service, you pay a fixed dollar amount for the treatment (a “co-payment”). Often, diagnostic and preventive services have no co-payment, so you pay nothing for these services. However, generally if you visit a dentist outside of the network, you may be responsible for the entire bill. These plans can be a very affordable option for individuals and families.
Whether you choose a PPO or HMO plan or the Dental + Vision package, you’ll have access to a large network of providers.
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