How Does a Dental Plan Organization (DPO) Work?

A dental plan organization (DPO) organizes services with a network of doctors. In exchange for a premium paid to the DPO, a member of the DPO can use any of the DPO's network doctors at a reduced fee. This fee, often called a copay, is the only cost for the services administered in most cases. The DPO will pay all other costs at a reduced group rate.

DPO Benefits

A DPO offers patients a network of doctors who will administer services at a heavily reduced cost. Many dentists will not accept patients without some form of insurance, because they fear the patient will not pay a bill in full on his or her own. Dentists are not as concerned as doctors with these issues. However, it is still easier to get quality medical care if you are a member of an insurance plan.

DPO Pitfalls

Once a patient is a member of a particular DPO, that patient will not receive the same benefits if they go "out of network" to another dentist. This can create restrictions on services. Further, the premiums paid to a DPO are only worth the cost if the patient makes use of the services.