Dental Insurance - Fee for Service
Fee for service dental insurance plans assume that each time you see a medical professional you will pay the fee. As a patient, you have your choice of physician or professional. You then submit a claim report to the dental insurance company. While this type of plan does not restrict the patient regarding doctor selection it can restrict the type of treatment that will be reimbursed.
Within the Fee for Service policy you can have two kinds of payment structures for dental procedures:
Dental Insurance - Direct Reimbursement
With direct reimbursement dental insurance plans you pay upfront and the dental insurers will reimburse you. In most of these dental insurance plans you will be reimbursed based on the number of dollars spent as opposed to by procedure type. You will have complete freedom to choose the Dentist of your choice.
Dental Insurance - Indemnity
An indemnity dental insurance plan assigns a payment amount for a type of dental procedure regardless of the actual charges. You may be able to 'pay the difference' and have the Dentist claim against your insurance or you may have to pay upfront and make the claim yourself. Note that the amount which a dental insurance plan pays may bear little resemblance to what the Dentist charges, even though it may be termed a "reasonable" or "customary" fee limit.
Don't forget to check out the how do I choose a dental insurance policy, dental insurance - fee for service, dental insurance - managed care, group dental insurance and individual dental insurance and dental insurance plan questions pages and click the links above to get started comparing dental insurance plans.