Dental Insurance

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Small Businesses Who Provide Dental Insurance Boost Employee Satisfaction

Small business owners work hard. They often operate on tight budgets with limited staff—a staff they appreciate and want to take care of to the best of their ability. Offering employee benefits is one way to attract quality personnel and keep job satisfaction high.

In addition to health insurance and retirement plans, employees appreciate benefits packages that include specialty benefits such as dental and vision coverage. Most (53 percent) small firms, those with 3 to 199 workers, offer or contribute to a dental health benefit separate from any dental coverage their employee health plans might include, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s 2012 Employer Health Benefits Survey.

Employee requests, the impact of dental health on overall health, and affordability are the most important reasons to consider offering dental plans, said the National Association of Dental Plans after releasing findings from its 2011 Group Purchaser Behavior Study. Most employers—96 percent—believe dental benefits are an “essential” or “differentiating” factor in the recruitment and retention of employees.

There are several options in the world of small group dental plans, which can make them more affordable—for employers and employees—than one might think. Here’s how boost your employee benefits package by adding quality, budget-friendly dental insurance:

1. Decide upon a fully funded or voluntary plan

Small business owners can fully fund an employer-sponsored dental program, which means they pay 100 percent of employee premiums. Those who cannot afford such a generous option can still offer oral health benefits in the form of a voluntary dental plan.

A third possibility involves offering a basic fully funded plan and allowing employees to “buy up” to a richer plan design if they prefer.

2. Select an indemnity or PPO plan

Dental insurance plans come in two types: indemnity plans and preferred provider organization plans. Indemnity plans do not have network restrictions. PPO plans do.

PPO plans include a network of providers who offer services at a rate negotiated with the carrier, which helps employees save money when they receive services in-network.

Indemnity plans may be more flexible, which may be favorable for those in rural areas and other places where in-network providers are limited, but they also tend to be more costly. If a dentist charges above the carrier’s usual, customary and reasonable fees, the insured member will be responsible for paying the amount not covered by the plan.

3. Customize the plan design

Some carriers offer dental insurance plans for small businesses that can be customized. Employers can select the plan’s types of services, deductible, calendar-year maximums, waiting periods, orthodontia, and coinsurance, among other options. These options help accommodate employee oral health needs and impact the monthly premium amount. When a small group reaches a minimum number of employees, multiple plan designs may be offered.

4. Choose a plan with access to extras

Several small group dental insurance plans include a vision discount or vision insurance plan. This adds further value to an employee benefits package and helps employees save even more on their annual health care expenses.

5. Realize the benefits in dental benefits

According to MetLife’s annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends, released in March 2013, those who strongly recommend their employer as “a great place to work” are three times more likely to be satisfied with their benefits, calling them an important reason for staying with the company.

In “The Best Benefits Package for Small Businesses,” Forbes reported that companies that offer attractive benefits packages boasted significantly lower turnover rates than companies that don’t. The article stated that while employers claim they cannot increase the dollar amount they contribute toward benefits, they can give employees more options, which adds to their satisfaction

In addition to employee attraction and retention, dental insurance encourages good oral health. Dental insurance is a primary indicator of access to dental care in the United States, according to the 2008 National Health Interview Survey. Studies show that people with private dental insurance have more dental visits than those without it. Most group dental plans cover preventive and diagnostic care at 100 percent, which includes two exams and cleanings each year. These visits are important to catching oral health problems—and even systemic health problems—early on when they are less expensive and more treatable. Dental insurance and the preventive care it encourages can also help prevent missed workdays due to dental pain and procedures.

6. Get started

Talk to an insurance agent about small business group dental insurance plans available in your area. You may also contact a representative through to discuss what plan options might work best for your business and employees.

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