Dental HMO (Dental Health Maintenance Organization) 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 preauthorization. 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 "copayment"). Often, diagnostic and preventive services have no copayment, 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. Typically, the least expensive of dental plans.
Dental PPO (Dental 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. 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 they are not in the network. Typically, the most expensive of dental plans.
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