Dental care can sometimes be purchased in addition to basic medical care, or it can be purchased as a separate policy from a separate provider. Generally, there are two dental plans available: an HMO plan and an indemnity plan. These plans usually cover only basic dentistry services, not orthodontics (like braces) or surgical procedures.
HMO-type plan. These dental plans operate in the same way as an HMO health plan. Employees choose from a list of doctors under contract with the insurance company and then pay a copayment when they visit. Sometimes these plans include free exams and teeth cleaning once or twice a year for insureds, as well.
Indemnity plan. Like a fee-for-service health plan, these plans allow you to go to the dentist of your choice. The employee must fulfill the deductible before the insurance company will start paying. They also have a usual, reasonable, and customary (UCR) fee schedule that they pay from. Any covered costs that exceed the UCR limit must be paid by the employee.
Generally, these plans are big money makers for the insurance companies that
provide them. The premiums are usually small enough to entice people to buy the
coverage who will never use it. For people who do not have dental problems and
just need basic preventative services, it may be more economical to put the
money they would spend on dental insurance premiums in a medical
spending account (if you offer one) and pay for those teeth cleanings out of