Helping employees get the most value out of their dental benefits

by MikeMeehan 9/20/2018 9:39 AM

Because dental benefits have the potential to improve both oral and overall health, it’s important that employees make the most of their coverage. By taking some simple steps, you can help encourage employees to leverage their dental benefits as effectively as possible.  Education – Ensure that employees are aware of the value their dental coverage provides. Minimizing costs. To realize the most savings, your employees should visit dentists in their plan’s network. When employees choose a network dentist, they help ensure lower claims costs, which also benefits employers. This offers immediate financial benefits for a self-insured group and can lead to more stable premiums in the long run for fully insured groups. Moreover, make sure your employees know that dentists outside your plan’s network may be able to balance bill. This is what happens when a dentist’s fee for a certain service exceeds the plans’ allowed amount, and the dentist bills the difference.  Preventing dental disease. Because most dental disease is preventable, many dental plans cover the cost of preventive care at 100 percent. Regular exams and cleanings are key to keeping mouths healthy and catching dental diseases early before they become costly problems. Maintaining overall health. Signs of over 120 diseases may be detected in the mouth including diabetes and heart diseases. During regular appointments, dentists will look for these conditions and will screen for oral cancer with the goal of early detection. This can help lower medical costs by increasing treatment options and improving outcomes, according to “Oral Diagnosis, Oral Medicine and Treatment Planning.” Frequent communication – Clear communication can mean the difference between confidence and confusion. Reminders. Continue to remind employees of the benefits of good oral health and encourage them to utilize preventive care. When you do, mention that they can typically visit the dentist for preventive care at little to no out-of-pocket cost. Updates on changes. If your plan is updated, provide comprehensive information to employees to ensure they fully understand the changes. Check-ins during open enrollment. Employees can make updates at open enrollment, so make sure those who want to make changes don’t miss their chance. This is also a good time to remind employees why they should take advantage of dental benefits.  Ask for feedback. Encourage employees to articulate the positives and negatives of their experiences using their dental coverage. Ask them to provide information that helps prioritize coverage options. And always be open to suggestions.  Resources – Make sure employees have the materials they need to maximize their benefits. Cost savings worksheet. Send a cost savings worksheet to show the financial differences between using an in-network dentist versus an out-of-network dentist. Provider tools. Speak with your dental benefits provider about any communication tools they may offer to make it easier for employees to understand and use their benefits.   

The importance of offering voluntary benefits to employees

by MikeMeehan 8/16/2018 10:08 AM

If you’re an employee benefits manager, you may find yourself performing a balancing act when it comes to compensation packages. Not only are you tasked with satisfying your employees’ expectations, but you also have to meet the financial goals of your business. To accommodate these two priorities, you may consider curbing costs by switching to voluntary dental benefits. Take a look at the value voluntary benefits can offer both your employees and your business.   Savings and convenienceA voluntary dental plan delivers the benefits your employees want while limiting or eliminating your financial obligation. You can choose to contribute to the plan or reduce costs almost entirely by shifting 100 percent of the costs to employees. For employees, voluntary benefits make dental care more affordable by allowing them to take advantage of group rates. Plus, they receive pre-tax savings on premiums through payroll deductions and the added convenience of automatic payments. Similar to traditional plans, your employees will also receive affordable care when visiting a network dentist. A large network such as Delta Dental’s means that your employees’ current dentists are more likely to be in-network, allowing them to take advantage of these savings without switching dentists.  The value of preventive careBecause preventive care is so vital to good oral health, most plans cover 100 percent of the cost. By removing these out-of-pocket expenses, voluntary dental benefits make it more likely that employees will make regular dental appointments. In fact, people with dental coverage are 73 percent more likely to see the dentist annually than those without coverage, and that can mean better oral health in the long run. Regular appointments allow dentists to catch dental problems early, preventing stress, time away from work and costs required to treat more advanced dental conditions. Should your employees or their family members need more extensive dental care, they can rest easy knowing they have comprehensive coverage.  By offering your employees voluntary dental benefits, you can demonstrate the value your company places on your employees’ health. To learn more about enhancing your employee compensation package with this option, speak with your benefits consultant or local Delta Dental representative.  

Seeing your family dentist before school starts

by MikeMeehan 8/2/2018 9:49 AM

Each year, 100 million Americans forego a dental visit, and that’s a big problem when it comes to maintaining a healthy smile. Before your calendar fills up with school activities, athletic events and more, schedule routine dental appointments for your kids (and yourself!). No matter how good your oral hygiene habits are, a dental visit provides benefits that regular brushing and flossing can’t, like removing tartar buildup.  Differences between plaque and tartarPlaque is a colorless film of bacteria that sticks to teeth. These bacteria create acids that decay teeth and irritate gums. Luckily, plaque can be removed with daily brushing and flossing. But when plaque stays on your teeth for too long, it hardens or calcifies along your gumline and forms tartar. Once this happens, regular brushing is not sufficient for removal, and that’s bad news for your gums. By pushing your gums away from your teeth, tartar creates pockets that allow bacteria to grow. If tartar isn’t removed with regular professional cleanings, it can cause gum disease, also known as periodontitis, and can even lead to tooth loss. How your teeth are cleaned at a dental appointmentDuring a routine cleaning, your dentist or hygienist uses a modified mirror to find unwanted residue and a metal instrument called a scaler to remove plaque and tartar. The scaler has a bladelike tip that allows them to scrape above and below your gumline as well as in between your teeth. They might also use a vibrating device called an ultrasonic scaler to shake plaque and tartar free. They can then wash away these bacteria with water. When they have sufficiently removed all plaque and tartar, they polish your teeth with an electric brush and polishing paste. The last step is a thorough flossing to make sure there’s nothing hiding between your teeth. Visiting your dentist regularly is an essential part of your oral health routine. Not only will it keep your smile sparkling, but it will also help spot dental issues early before they progress into more costly problems. Take a moment to prepare your family for a school year full of smiles by scheduling dental appointments today. 

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