Both individual health and dental insurance plans have confusing, yet important, abbreviations. Below is an explanation of each to help you learn the things you need to know about individual health and dental insurance plans.
Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): An HMO is a health insurance plan that allows you to choose a primary care physician who will act as your “go between” in the event you need to see a medical specialist outside of your primary care physician’s field. If you have an HMO health insurance plan, you “prepay” for services rather than pay a deductible.
Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): PPOs are available with both individual health insurance plans and dental insurance plans. Like an HMO, a PPO lets you choose your doctor or dentist within a particular network. Unlike an HMO, you only pay for the services you are given by the doctor or dentist.
Point of Service (POS): A POS is a health insurance plan that combines features from HMOs and PPOs. Like an HMO, there is usually no deductible, low co-pay, and a primary care physician. Like a POS, you’re allowed to go out of the network of doctors, in which case you’ll pay a deductible and possibly higher co-pay.
Indemnity Plan (IP): The IP is a very popular dental insurance plan. Coverage is limited, but you usually have the option of choosing your own dentist, which actually helps you save money.
Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO): After paying one annual premium, a DHMO guarantees a certain number of visits, though it doesn’t allow you to choose your dentist.
Dental Discount Plan (DDP): Although a DDP isn’t a traditional dental health insurance plan, you can get discounts from dentists who agree to participate in the plan. There’s no limit and you choose your own dentist.