Whether it is for routine preventative care, or for tackling specific dental issues, it is usually a wise choice to purchase some form of dental insurance coverage. Once you have decided to shop for and purchase a dental coverage plan, how do you know if you should choose a PPO dental plan or an HMO dental plan? This guide will help to shed some light on the differences between the two types of dental plans.
The acronym “PPO” stands for Preferred Provider Organization and is used to describe either a medical or a dental insurance policy that offers flexibility for subscribers when choosing their care providers. In most cases, a PPO dental plan will be slightly more costly with the patient paying a premium for the freedom to seek treatment from providers either inside or outside of the preferred network.
The acronym “HMO” stands for Health Maintenance Organization and is used to describe either a medical or a dental insurance policy that limits subscribers to choosing a health care or dental care provider to those that are listed in the networks preferred providers. When subscribing to a dental HMO policy, the dental patient must seek treatment only from the dentists that are pre-approved by their network. Many HMO dental plans are termed as being “closed”, meaning that if you seek treatment outside of their approved network, your dental bills will not be covered at all, while the same situation under a PPO dental plan would most likely be allowed with the exception of a financial penalty.
Many times, the choice between the freedom of a PPO dental plan and a more limiting, but more affordable HMO dental plan comes down to choice of dentist. If the dental patient currently has a dentist that he or she wishes to continue receiving services from, it is important to check to see if this particular dentist is covered under the HMO dental policy. If not, the patient needs to decide if the convenience of keeping their current dentist is worth the extra cost of choosing the PPO plan.