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.  

Costs for whitening your pearly whites

by MikeMeehan 6/7/2018 8:33 AM

Need to prep your smile for a big summer event? Take a look at the most common whitening methods from least to most expensive. Whitening toothpaste can often be purchased for under $20 and will take two to six weeks to show a noticeable difference. This method works by removing surface stains, such as those caused by drinking coffee or smoking. Since whitening toothpastes don’t alter the natural color of your teeth or lighten stains that go deeper than the tooth’s surface, the effects won’t be as significant as other methods.  Over-the-counter whitening strips and gels usually fall between $10 and $100 and can take 10 to 14 days to whiten teeth. The bleaching agents used for these products are weaker than those used by dentists, so they require longer application times than professional whiteners to achieve similar effects. Each product will be applied differently based on the instructions included in the package.  At-home whitening trays typically cost between $150 and $600 and take full effect in one to four weeks. Your dentist will customize a bleaching tray for you to take home and wear as instructed. The bleaching tray looks somewhat like a retainer or mouth guard in which peroxide-based bleaching gel or paste is contained during the whitening process. You may wear it overnight or during the day for several hours at a time.  In-office bleaching can cost between $500 and $1,000 and normally takes less than two hours. The process is completed painlessly at the dentist’s office. After applying a bleaching agent, your dentist may also use light, heat or both to enhance the whitening effect. Depending on your situation, you may need to complete more than one session. Before choosing a whitening method, consult with your dentist to determine the best option for you. Whiteners may not work on all teeth. For example, teeth with porcelain crowns and composite fillings won’t whiten along with your natural teeth, so their color may no longer match. Your dentist can also advise on the safety of your intended method. After or during your whitening process, you may experience a temporary increase in teeth sensitivity. Talk to your dentist if this happens to you.   

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