By Amber Chittenden, VP of Client Engagement
While reviewing the results of our 2019 Indiana Employee Benefits Benchmarking Survey, we learned that 74% of Indiana employers are currently offering dental benefits. This is a 4% decrease from our 2018 survey results. Not a large enough decrease to cause concern, but it left me asking: What about the 26% of employers who aren’t offering dental benefits?
At Apex, we have found that employers who choose to not offer dental benefits tend to be smaller in size or have lower paid employees – and in these situations, it is assumed that employees are unable or unwilling to pay for this benefit. But guess what? Dental benefits are the second most important benefit for employees – regardless of company size or employee financial status. Dental insurance can benefit your organization and your employees in many ways, and there actually are some affordable options available.
Here are 5 reasons you should move dental benefits to the top of your priority list:
Oral health can affect overall wellness.
Oral health is the window to overall physical health. There are many medical indications connected to issues that start in your mouth, including infections that get into you your bloodstream and flow to the rest of your body. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, poor oral health can result in higher susceptibility to conditions like heart disease, pre-term pregnancy risk and diabetes. Studies clearly show a connection between the mouth and the rest of the body. Regular oral exams at least two times per year help catch medical problems at an early stage
A reflection on your employees and your organization.
A smile is one of the first things we notice when meeting someone. People who don’t have dental coverage and who skip regular cleanings are often not as lively and don’t smile as much as those who are getting regular checkups. In addition, oral pain is a common reason for employees to call in sick or leave work early. Regular checkups will keep this under control and help your employees become healthier, more confident and more productive.
The dentist attachment phenomenon.
Did you know that people are more tied to their dentist than they are to their medical provider? In all the years I’ve worked in this industry, whenever there is a change in providers, we hear the most complaints when there is a disruption in dental providers. Many people prefer the comfort of having a familiar person they’ve grown to trust working in their mouth. People tend to stay with their dentist more often than with any other medical provider.
New ways to cover rising costs.
The costs of dental cleanings and orthodontia care are becoming more expensive each year, so it’s important to help your employees by providing coverage for those extra costs.
From a provider standpoint, dental cleanings are typically offered twice a year, and now some providers are taking this benefit even further by offering a third cleaning annually if a patient has a medical condition such as heart disease, at-risk pregnancy and diabetes. Many dental providers are recognizing the cost benefit of providing this extra service and the impact it can have on an individual’s overall health.
We are seeing a trend with employers evaluating the maximum benefits provided by the dental plan. For example, braces can cost between $3,000 to $10,000 yet most plans only provide a $1,000 lifetime orthodontia maximum. Employers are slowly increasing that maximum to $1,500 helping to cover more of the cost.
Reduced medical and insurance costs.
No doubt about it – preventive dental coverage saves employers and employees money. With regular dentist visits, serious medical conditions and changes in oral health can be detected early. When employees and employers spend less on upfront dental costs, costly medical procedures are avoided in the long run. I truly believe preventive care leads to healthier employees and fewer claims – and ultimately cost savings for all organizations.