What Are the Different Types of Dental Plans?

A person looking up dental plans on a computer

PPO and DHMO: alphabet soup or dental plan? Sorting through different dental plans can feel overwhelming. Here’s a breakdown of three of the most common types of plans and how they work:

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO)

A PPO is a dental plan that uses a network of dentists who have agreed to provide dental services for set fees. The number of dental services covered depends on the plan. If you have a PPO plan and see a dentist out of the network, you will most likely have more out of pocket expenses.

Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO)

A DHMO is like an HMO. Network dentists are paid a set fee every month to provide covered dental services to you whether you see the dentist or not. Some of the covered services have no cost to you, while other services require a co-payment on your part. 

Discount or Referral Dental Plans

The company selling a discount or referral plan contracts with a group of dentists and these dentists agree to discount their dental fees. Discounts are usually applied to all services including cosmetic. These plans do not pay for any services received, instead, you pay for treatment yourself at the reduced rate determined by the plan.  

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