Difference Between HMO and PPO Dental (With Table)

When it comes to healthcare, it often calls for a call of action between HMO and PPO. In a lifetime of a person, at least once, they have to face any illness that requires ailment or cure, which brings more of the question of choosing the best treatment. Hence, making an informed decision about it is important as it balances the need as what works the best. The difference between HMO and PPO helps determine such diseases and other requirements.

HMO vs PPO Dental

The difference between HMO and PPO Dental is that despite both being health insurance provides, they provide distinguished facilities to the patients and fulfills needs as per the requirements. HMO refers to the complete form of the health maintenance organization, while PPO refers to the complete form, that is, the preferred provider organization.

HMO or Health Maintenance Organization is the system that provides the healthcare with the facility to provide services at not much or low prices but after thorough negotiation of any insurance company. To avail of the services of an HMO, one has to choose one physician from the list provided with approved healthcare providers and be a member. HMO has the most facilities because its services are proportionate to the low cost of patients.

PPO or Preferred Provider Organization is another healthcare provider system or network that has more diverse choices and choices in multiple healthcare options. PPO doesn’t stop or restrict its members from availing care in-network, and referral code from Prime Care Physician is optional. Instead, patients can directly make appointments with the health care service providers.

Comparison Table Between HMO and PPO Dental

Parameters of Comparison HMO DentalPPO Dental
Full-Form HMO has a full form as Health Maintenance Organization, PPO has a full form as Prefered Provider Organization. 
Cost-EffectiveHMO doesn’t provide coverage outside their network. PPO provides a little bit of coverage outside their network as per terms and conditions. 
ProvidersHMO has listed health care providers for their members. PPO does not have in-network care for its members. 
PCPPCP provides referral codes for HMO members or patients. PPO members do not require any referral code through PCP. 
ExamplesSuppose you have chest pain. You wouldn’t go to a specialist first and rather visit the PCP. Later, the PCP can refer you to an HMO healthcare provider. Suppose you have a PPO plan and you can avail of annual check-ups whenever you need to see a specialist. 

What is HMO Dental?

As said that, HMO stands for Health Maintenance Organization is known for availing services to its patients at low prices and through a referral code from Prime Care Physician. If one is using HMO, they are required to stay within their network of providers to receive maximum coverage as per the insurance guidelines. This eventuality means that the patients can only see those physicians who are only listed with the HMO service providers.

There are certain steps involved in taking services from HMO. If one is a member with HMO, they are first required to first see their prime care physician or PPO, who will see supervise the problem. If they can’t treat the problem, they will more refer the patient to an in-network specialist or physician listed in HMO. However, it is given that Health Maintenance organizations do not cover any expenses outside of their network, but it doesn’t end here.

Even though they have boundaries in their coverage, their members or patients can enjoy low premiums outside, which is often advantageous. When the PPO makes a recommendation, it will inevitably reach a certain level. The members of the HMO can see health care specialists like obstetrician, cardiologist, or even a rheumatologist through their referral code. This referral code is obtained from Prime Care Physician. However, HMOs don’t have annual deductions or such benefits and charge at the time of services.

What is PPO Dental?

Given that, PPO has a full form of Preferred Provider Organization which Given that PPO has a full form of Preferred Provider Organization which has plans as an insurance company for its members. It works in a certain way. PPO includes contracts in a network of dentists who have agreed to provide healthcare services as provides and charge certain fees for those approved services. However, in PPO, patients are allowed to use their benefits mentioned at any healthcare provider, regardless of whether they are in their plan’s network.

It is mentioned in the insurance guidelines of PPO that its plans come with an annual maximum which is the highest amount that the insurance provider will pay out for approved services in a calendar year. Most PPO and HMO plans allow you to attend routine preventive appointments — checkups and cleanings — while paying nothing out of pocket. However, with a PPO plan, you might have to pay a deductible before your insurance kicks in. 

PPO dental plans don’t make it compulsory to choose a primary dentist even though one is recommended for its members. Moreover, one doesn’t need the requirement of referrals to see the dentist, which results in you saving money if one is mentioned in the plan’s network. The PPO dental tends to permit its members to see any licensed dentist they want, even if it’s in or out-of-network. However, one will pay less if he/she chooses to see a dentist within the plan’s network. 

Main Differences Between HMO and PPO Dental 

  1. HMO Dental has coinsurance at the percentage of a flat rate for services, whereas in PPO, dental is at the percentage of the contracted rate for dentist services.
  2. There is no annual maximum for HMO dental, whereas PPO dental has an annual maximum according to the contracts of the members.
  3. There is a copay for HMO dental, whereas, for PPO dental, a copay is sometimes available.
  4. In HMO dental, staying in-network is required, whereas in PPO dental there, it is not compulsory to have in-network, but costs will be lower if you stay in-network.
  5. A primary dentist is required in HMO dental, whereas a primary dentist is not required in PPO dental.


They are all-powerful healthcare providers whose interests affect the treatment and disease of their members or patients. However, their differences make an essential impact in the decision-making of the patients as per the requirements and needs provided differently by both of them.

HMO and PPO dentistry is different in terms of cost coverage and important health services because one can be a direct doctor’s service, while the other can be through other referrals. Yet, both are a very efficacious choice when it comes to health services whose needs and importance are growing every day at every hour.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002817714648984
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1752-7325.1995.tb02377.x
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