A Dental HMO plan or DHMO is typically cheaper than a Dental PPO. However, it may have a smaller network of participating dentists and requires a referral from your primary care dentist to see a specialist.

Dental PPO plans have higher premiums and a deductible, but they also allow you to choose your dentist and usually don’t require a referral.


When considering any dental insurance plan, it is essential to understand how that plan works and what is covered. Different programs offer different benefits and coverages that differ based on the plan specifications, and some, like HMOs, have a more limited network than others. Dental HMO plans generally have a closed panel that only allows for treatment from in-network providers. While this means that patients may spend less on out-of-pocket costs, it also restricts the options for facilities, dentists, and doctors. This can be a drawback, especially in an emergency.

The good news is that standard preventive care with an HMO is typically covered at 100%. There is often a copay for other procedures – a flat fee that patients must pay (as opposed to the percentage of costs shared with PPO plans). Most HMOs don’t have annual maximums and are less expensive than PPOs.

On the other hand, PPOs provide more flexibility concerning their network. PPOs can be used to access dentists outside their primary networks, and they have a lower annual maximum than HMOs. In addition, most PPOs require a deductible for most services, which must be met before the insurance company starts paying out on covered costs. They also have a higher premium than HMOs.

Enhanced Oral Health

Whether you’re looking for individual or group dental insurance, the type of coverage you choose can make a difference in your financial outlook. Dental HMO plans may be a good choice for your needs if you are interested in cost-effective options. These plans, sometimes called DeltaCare DHMO or Dental Health Maintenance Organization, work on a managed care model and have a network of dentists you can see for covered procedures. Typically, these policies have lower monthly premiums and predictable copayments. They also usually do not have annual maximums or deductibles. Moreover, HMO dental insurance plans in California offer a range of comprehensive coverage options within specific provider networks, ensuring accessible and affordable dental care for residents.

These plans require you to designate a primary care dentist and use only those dentists who are in the plan’s network for your care. While standard preventive services such as routine cleanings, exams, and X-rays are usually 100% covered, other basic and primary services will have a set price based on the procedure. These fees are called copayments and are typically much lower than what you would pay for PPO or indemnity insurance.

If you are interested in the broader selection of dentists, consider a dental PPO or indemnity insurance policy instead. These types of insurance offer flexibility and allow you to see any dentist, including out-of-network providers. The only drawbacks of these options are the annual maximum and deductible, which may apply.


Preventive Care

Generally speaking, dental HMO plans (or DHMOs) offer lower monthly premiums and provide full coverage for in-network visits with a primary dentist. If a patient requires specialist care, the primary dentist will give a referral to an in-network provider before the procedure can be covered.

As a result, DHMOs tend to have smaller networks than PPOs. This can lead to a lack of available providers and may force patients to travel farther to receive the necessary dental services. However, standard preventive care (such as checkups, cleanings, and routine X-rays) is typically covered at 100% with a DHMO plan.

Individuals purchasing a new health insurance plan should carefully consider their priorities before choosing a DHMO or PPO. PPO plans tend to have wider networks of dentists than HMOs and can also provide benefits that are not available with a DHMO plan, such as higher-tier dental coverage for basic procedures.

Additionally, many PPO plans will allow for out-of-network dentists under certain circumstances, which can be an essential consideration if you see a particular dentist for a specific procedure. On the other hand, if cost and convenience are your main concerns, a DHMO or DPPO plan could be ideal for you.

Specialty Care

Dental HMO plans are often less expensive than PPO and indemnity dental insurance. The reason is due to the way these plans are structured. DHMOs (dental health maintenance organizations) are similar to HMO medical plans in that the enrollee chooses a primary dental professional, and the project decides whether the enrollee needs to see a specialist.

As such, patients are incentivized only to see dentists within the DHMO plan’s network. This is called “gatekeeping.” A referral from the primary dentist is needed to visit a dental specialist. A referral won’t be provided unless the primary dentist believes it is required. These plans typically have lower out-of-pocket costs (or copayments) than a PPO or indemnity plan based on a flat fee for each procedure instead of the typical percent-of-costs-paid model in an insurance policy.

However, it is essential to remember that standard preventive care in a DHMO plan may only sometimes be covered 100% of the time. That’s why reviewing a dental plan’s Summary of Benefits or Plan Details is so important when considering a particular project.


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