Paying For Dental Care – What You Need To Know About Dental Insurance
Today, businesses, families and individuals have a variety of choices to reduce
out-of-pocket costs on dental care. These dental insurance options include PPO dental insurance
plans , HMO dental insurance plans, and
dental indemnity insurance plans. You may also consider dental savings
plans – an affordable alternative to the traditional dental insurance plans.
Let’s take a closer look at dental insurance plans and dental savings plans.
PPO Dental Insurance Plans
Dental PPO insurance plans, also known as dental preferred provider organizations
or DPPOs, are a
popular dental insurance option due to their flexibility in allowing insured
members to choose dentists and dental specialists. Typically, PPO dental insurance
plans are said to offer better service and have less limitations than HMO dental
insurance plans, but the premiums are usually more costly. Businesses often use
PPO dental insurance plans to provide their employees with a valuable dental benefit.
PPO dental insurance plans are used by individuals and families as well.
Dental preferred provider organizations are managed care organizations with a network
of dentists under contract with a dental insurance carrier. This network of dentists
provides dental PPO insurance plan members with special rates on dental care. The
rates are usually lower if the insured member selects a primary dentist and/or dental
specialists from the dental PPO network, but the insured individual still has the
freedom to choose a dental care provider outside of the established network.
Despite this flexibility, PPO dental insurance plans have some limitations as well.
In addition to the higher premiums usually associated with dental PPOs in relation
to other dental insurance plans, they also have tedious claim forms to fill out
and insured members usually have to wait to receive reimbursements. Participants
insured with a dental PPO insurance plan are responsible for paying their deductible
before receiving any reimbursement. In addition, since most
dental PPO insurance plans only cover a portion on the dentist’s fee, insured
individuals also have to make a co-payment to the dentist. Many people join PPO
dental insurance plans because this type of insurance plan gives them more freedom
when choosing a dentist and/or dental specialists.
HMO Dental Insurance Plans
Dental HMO insurance plans, also known as dental health maintenance organizations
or DHMOs, are usually much cheaper than PPO dental insurance plans and dental indemnity
insurance plans. HMO dental insurance plans have networks of dentists under contract
with the dental insurance company that offer dental services to insured members
at pre-determined rates. HMO dental insurance plans are usually used by businesses
to insure their employees, but can be used by individuals and families as well.
Individuals who do not receive dental insurance through their employers often turn
to HMO dental insurance plans as an option.
One of the main advantages of HMO dental insurance plans is that they usually have
lower premiums than the other dental insurance options. Regrettably, HMO dental
insurance plans have been known to impose strict restrictions on insured members.
For example, the dental HMO will not provide a reimbursement if the insured sees
a dentist that is not in their network. People insured with HMO dental insurance
plans must select a primary dentist from a pre-approved list. All referrals to dental
specialists must be provided by the primary dentist.
One of the key differences between dental HMO insurance and dental PPO insurance
is that DPPOs usually allow dentists to spend more time with insured patients. Dentists
in dental HMO insurance plans are expected to see a certain number of patients,
so some dentists have been known to rush through dental appointments. Additionally,
participants in HMO dental insurance plans often complain about tiresome referral
and claims procedures. Despite some of the restrictions and limitations associated
with this type of dental insurance, HMO dental insurance plans are a feasible option
for many people due to their low cost in relation to other dental insurance plans.
Dental Indemnity Insurance Plans
Dental indemnity insurance is usually offered by insurance companies to insure businesses
and other groups. Dental indemnity insurance plans are fee-for-service insurance
plans that require insured members to pay dentists directly for dental services
rendered. People covered by dental indemnity insurance receive compensation from
the insurance company by submitting claim forms. Dental indemnity insurance plan
members often have to wait a long time to receive their reimbursement from the dental
insurance carrier, and are expected to pay the difference if the dentist’s fee is
greater than the reimbursement.
Employees and/or group members on a dental indemnity insurance plan can choose dentists,
change dentists, and even see a dental specialist without a referral. Despite this
freedom, many individuals, families and businesses shy away from dental indemnity
insurance plans because of the costly premiums, high annual deductibles, and exhausting
claims procedures. Typically, dental indemnity insurance plans are structured to
insure groups, so they are usually not good options for individuals and families
looking for dental insurance. But if you do need a plan with a higher-than-usual
annual cap, some companies do sell indemnity plans to individuals.
Dental Savings Plans – An Alternative to Dental Insurance
Dental savings plans , although not a dental insurance product, provide
individuals, families, businesses and other groups with affordable access to dental
care. Dental savings plans provide plan members with discounts on most dental services.
As an example, the majority of plans you’ll find on dentalplans.com offer savings
of 10%-60% at the dentist. The savings depend on the treatment you need, as well
as your location (since prices charged by dentists vary by location).
Dental savings plan members pay a low annual membership fee for access to an extensive
network of participating dentists and dental specialists that provide discounts
on dental care at the time of service.
Many individuals and families that do not receive dental insurance from their employers
turn to dental savings plans to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses on dental care.
Additionally, more businesses are looking toward dental savings plans as an affordable
and easy way to provide their employees with a much needed dental benefit.
Since they are not dental insurance, dental savings plans do not have co-payments,
deductibles, paperwork hassles or annual limits. They are significantly easier for
a business or other organization to manage.
Many people find that their needs are best met by having both dental insurance and a dental savings plan. Families with
young children may want insurance to cover preventative care for the kids, and a
savings plan to make adult care more affordable. Others rely on dental savings plans
to bridge the gap between insurance-mandated waiting times for some procedures,
or buy a dental savings plan when their dentist informs them that the care they
need will cost more than their dental insurance policy’s maximum annual allowance.
In addition, select dental savings plans offer discounts on some dental specialties
that are rarely covered by dental insurance, including
cosmetic dentistry services like veneers, teeth whitening and more. Those
who need or want these treatments often buy a dental savings plan membership to
get a discounted rate on the services.
The low annual membership price and the convenience provided by dental savings plans
have made them an affordable and easy-to-use option for people looking to save money
on their dental care needs.