Many major health and dental insurance policies use a network of professional providers to help contain costs. This network of doctors, dentists, therapists, hospitals, etc. agree to accept the insurance that is attached to the network, and they also agree to charge network prices for their services. The insurance company controls costs by getting medical and dental providers agree to predetermined prices. They also pass those savings on by paying a larger percentage of the costs to insured people who use their network providers!
A PPO or Preferred Provider Organization is probably the most common type of heath insurance plan which is connected to a network. A dental plan may be referred to as a DPO or Dental Provider Organization. However many large insurance plans will use a network that provides both medical and dental care providers. Again, these network contracted medical and dental providers have agreed to charge predetermined prices for their services, and to accept the insurance company’s clients.
Usually a PPO or DPO insurance plan will allow their members to seek services outside of the network, but they offer to cover a much larger percentage of the bill if network providers are used. A member can find local medical and dental providers by consulting a printed list or by a convenient search on the web.
A network can also be provided by another type of medical or dental insurance, called an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) or DMO (Dental Maintenance Organization). These types of insurance plans also use a network, but they specify they will only cover services provided by network providers. You must use a doctor or dentist on their list to get your health and dental care covered. They may cover even more of the bill if you agree to use the network, but you give up some flexibility of being able to choose a doctor outside of the network. In an emergency or unusual situation, an HMO or DMO may waive this restriction.
A Combined Network Can Save you Money!
So how can this save you money? Well, membership in the actual network is usually a part of your insurance premium. Sometimes the amount is bundled in your payment, and sometimes it is more obvious as a different payment. Why pay this amount twice. I have found major insurance companies who bundle dental and health insurance in one policy, and these plans are usually less than separate dental insurance and health insurance policies!