dental care

The PPO vs. DMO
Comparing - Benefits and Limitations

The PPO vs DMO question has been haunting the minds of dental insurance buyers for so long.

The ensuing battle between these two main types of dental insurance plans have caused too much confusion that it’s time to finally put an end to it.

These two types of dental insurance plans are too different; they do not need to cause confusion. You just have to understand the key differences and be aware of your needs.

Your needs are the determining factor as to which of these two insurance options is more appropriate for you.

So which is it, PPO or DMO?

Well, let’s look at the differences between the two so it will be easy for you to choose once you’ve assessed your needs.

Both plans fall under the classification of traditional dental insurance plans, since the newer dental coverage options these days are the discount dental plans that offer membership benefits instead of paid coverage.

Aside from that, however, the two types of plans are completely different from each other :

Comparing the Benefits and Limitations

  • Flexibility
  • Affordability

1. Flexibility

PPO vs. DMOThe biggest differentiating factor between PPO vs DMO dental insurance plans is flexibility.

Under this factor, PPO is surely the winner. There’s no doubt about it; PPO plans are more flexible than DMO plans by a large margin.

The name itself already says a lot about the flexibility of PPO plans; after all, the name contains the word “preferred.” This means your preference is taken into consideration, thus allowing a bit of flexibility.

So what is the concrete bearing of the flexibility of PPO plans?

PPO plans allow members to freely choose their own dentists. They can choose any dentist and even switch from one dentist to another of their own accord. They do not have to get referrals or ask for approval for the dentist they choose. They simply receive the coverage that they pay for regardless of which dentist they go to.

Does this mean that PPO plans do not maintain a dentist network anymore?

PPO plans still come with a network of dentists that you can choose from, but you are not limited to these dentists. The catch is that if your chosen dentist belongs to the plan, you get maximum coverage, but if you choose from outside the plan, you get coverage but up to a certain limit only. Nonetheless, you pay reduced fees for your dental care provided by a dentist of your own choosing.  

2. Affordability

Even though a lot of people prefer PPO plans, the factor of affordability makes the PPO vs. DMO contest a bit more complicated.

While PPO is more flexible, DMO is more affordable. DMO, or Dental Maintenance Organization, is a dental insurance plan wherein you can only choose dentists who are part of the DMO network you signed up for.

Choosing a dentist who isn’t part of the network means you forfeit your right to the coverage that you paid for. If you don’t mind a bit of restriction in terms of the dentist who can provide care for your teeth, then a DMO plan is good enough for you especially since it is the more affordable option.

Which One’s for You?

The dentist networks maintained by PPO and DMO plans are also different. In the PPO vs DMO contest, PPO wins when it comes to the size and quality of dentist networks.

PPO dental networks are really big, with some consisting of around 100,000 dentists scattered all over the country. The dentists in PPO networks are also well-recognized for providing high quality care.

DMO networks are a bit smaller, and they have been associated with poor service in the past.

The reason for this is that DMO plans pay dentists a certain amount every month. This amount is set regardless of what services they offer to DMO members within the month. Thus, in some cases, the DMO dentists do not give their best service when they feel like they aren’t being compensated enough for it. This is a rare occurrence and not all DMO dentists are like this, but there have been reported cases.

The best way around this is to check out the dentists in the DMO plan before signing up.

By understanding the main differences between these two options, it is now easy to see which of them is more suitable for your need for coverage and dental care. This is the only way to put an end to the PPO vs DMO battle going on in your head.

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