Types of Dental Insurance Plans
Also known as indemnity or fee-for-service plans, traditional dental insurance involves the patient paying a percentage of the total cost and the insurance company paying the rest. These plans usually have a co-payment, deductible, and maximum out-of-pocket cost. You may have to pay for services up front, file your own claims and wait for the insurance carrier to reimburse you, but this type of plan offers the largest choice of dentists. Indemnity plans are usually pricier than other plans.
Dental Plan Organization/Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans utilize an in-network list of dentists to provide services to patients at a negotiated reduced rate, and patients pay a percentage of that reduced rate. Each plan usually requires first meeting a deductible. These plans come with an annual maximum benefit.
Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO) plans also utilize an in-network list of dentists to offer services to patients at a negotiated discounted price. Generally, patients only see one dentist for oral health needs and can be referred for specialty care. With a DHMO plan, there may or may not be an annual maximum benefit limit and deductibles are not a part of the plan. Instead, fixed dollar amounts or copayments are paid for treatment. These plans can be very affordable for those looking for basic services; however, there may be limitations for major procedures. If you visit an out-of-network dentist, you may be responsible for the entire bill.
Supplemental dental coverage is a separate dental plan that covers procedures not covered by a basic dental plan.
Non-insured discount plans
Discount plans are not actually insurance. These plans simply offer a discount off the sticker cost for dental care, and there is little or no paperwork, annual limits or deductibles so long as patients visit a participating dentist. This option is best for those who do not require or want consistent oral health care.