Compare Dental Insurance Plan – PPO, HMO, or Indemnity Plans?


If you want to compare dental insurance plans options, you need to consider the strengths and weaknesses of all options then choose which one has the more strengths and the weaknesses that are least significant to you.

The most popular dental insurance options these days are PPO, HMO, and Indemnity Plans. These plans address the same problem: to make dental care more affordable so as to encourage people to become more involved in caring for their teeth. Nowadays, dental care can be very expensive, with even the regular checkups costing quite a lot, like the basic exam which costs just a little lower than $100. More so for the major procedures such as bridges or root canals. Braces nowadays have a price bracket reaching up to $6000 even.

In your efforts to seek for a more affordable way to get dental care, you’d have to make a choice between these three dental coverage options available.

The Best Dental Insurance Options to Cover Your Dental Needs

  • PPO Dental Plans
  • HMO Dental Plans
  • Indemnity Insurance Coverage

1. PPO Dental Plans

compare dental insurance plansPPO dental plans is turning out to be the most popular dental insurance option nowadays. In this type of dental health insurance, the insured is free to select his own dentist, provided that if he chooses within a selected panel of dentists, he gets the full benefits of the plan. However, if he chooses his own dentist who is not part of the PPO network, he will still benefit from the plan, but only partially. Some PPO plans, however, allow the insured to refer their dentists to the network.

Usually, what is meant by “partial benefits” is that your co-payments and deductibles are higher.

2. HMO Dental Plans

HMO dental plans are managed dental care plans. Although not as popular as PPO plans, they do have their fair share of the market, primarily because they are easier on the pocket. HMO or Health Maintenance Organization plans are a type of managed care plan wherein patients simply pay a minimal insurance fee monthly and can seek covered procedures as long as they are included in your chosen plan package and they are offered by the dentists in the HMO network.

This is simpler than the PPO plan, but more restrictive. The primary characteristic of this plan is that you can only go to dentists within the HMO network. If you choose outside the network, you will not get any coverage at all. This is also an even bigger disadvantage considering that HMO networks don’t have the same number of dentists that PPO networks do. Less dentists sign up for HMO plans because, in an HMO setup, the HMO pays the dentists a fixed amount of compensation every month regardless of what procedures they were required to do for their HMO-covered patients.

3. Indemnity Insurance Coverage

The third option is indemnity insurance coverage. This is one of the traditional types of dental insurance plans. It also goes by the name of “fee-for-service” insurance. The biggest advantage of the indemnity insurance option over PPO and HMO plans is that the insured are perfectly and completely free to choose his or her own dentist.

The indemnity coverage works this way: the plan will pay the lower amount between a percentage of the fee charged by the dentist for a procedure and a fixed amount. Payments can be made directly to the dentist or to the insured; what’s important is that the indemnity plan reimburses or covers part of the cost.

Any difference between the covered cost and the total cost of the procedure you needed will be paid by the insured.

Compare Dental Insurance Based on Your Specific Needs

As you can see, both traditional dental insurance plans and discount dental plans offer their fair shares of benefits as well as disadvantages. The most important factors are the cost of premiums, the extent of the coverage, and the choice of dentists. You have to carefully assess all these factors in order to make the right informed choice.

And when you compare dental insurance plans, don’t just choose based on the financial differences. You have to choose based on how they meet your requirements and needs.