Central Texas, especially cities such as San Antonio, New Braunfels, San Marcos, and the surrounding areas are experiencing massive growth. This growth means there's a lot of potential for more sales and a lot of new talent in the workforce, which is leading to a hiring frenzy. One of the main ways to stay competitive when it comes to hiring new employees is to offer benefits such as group dental insurance.
Everyone loves the idea of keeping their teeth clean and healthy. Unfortunately, maintaining dental health can be costly--especially without dental insurance. For the average person, dental coverage can be expensive, which can lead to a neglect of oral health and lack of dentist visits... which can in turn negatively impact overall wellbeing.
The Benefits of Group Dental Coverage
A good dental plan can help cover costs incurred when visiting a dentist, which can be essential in the event that more intensive work (such as root canals) is necessary. This coverage helps provide peace of mind that's invaluable, especially in times of medical emergencies.
Those without good dental care are more prone to suffering from a variety of health issues, and every year over 800,000 people in the U.S. will wind up in a hospital due to a mouth-related emergency. While it does cost the company money to offer dental care, it's worth the trade-off: those with dental benefits are more likely to visit a dentist and keep their oral health in check, which means less missed time at work and more happy and productive employees.
While individual dental insurance plans can be expensive, they can be quite affordable when purchased as a group plan that employees can contribute to. These plans provide you and your employees with a wide range of services based on your needs and preferences. As an employer, you can decide how much you want to contribute to the plan (though there are minimums), and can allow employees the option to sign up at the discounted group rate.
Choosing the Right Group Dental Insurance Plan
Type of plan you decide to enroll your company in will determine how much dental insurance is offered for your employees and their dependents, and it will factor into the overall cost of the plan. In most instances, group dental insurance coverage is quoted and priced based on the options that will benefit the most employees who are seeking coverage through the company.
Group health insurance plans don't generally cover dentistry, but oral care plans can be added to your group health plan as a benefit rider, so it's important to know which health insurance plans provide what options for dental insurance.
Dental Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO)
A Dental PPO plan is the most common type of plan in the U.S. Under this type of plan, employees will be able to visit a network of dentists who accept your company's group dental insurance plan and charge reduced fees for their services. The insurance company you choose also contribute to these fees, which results in low out-of-pocket expenses for treatments done within network. Members can also go out of the covered networks to any licensed dentist, but the out-of-pocket costs will likely be higher than visiting a participating dentist.
The costs that your employees pay during visits is called a copay, which is outlined in the plan options you can choose from. Once this copay has been paid, the insurance plan covers the rest (subject to deductibles, maximums, etc.). Members may have to pay for more extensive work, but insurance will generally cover all or part of these expenses, depending on the coverage your company chooses.
Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO)
Not nearly as common a PPO Dental Plan, but a good option to consider if you're looking to provide some benefits at a lower cost, a DHMO is focused on helping members maintain health at the lowest price possible. This type of plan generally has a smaller dental network to work with, and your employees won't be able to receive any benefits if they go out of the network.
While this type of group dental plan doesn't provide covered services for major work such as root canals or implants, it does cover a variety of common services such as checkups, cleanings, and some types of minor work.
Dental Savings Plans
A Dental Savings Plan (or a Dental Discount Plan) is a type of group dental insurance that allows your employees to select from a network of dentists who offer discounted rates, while paying lower premiums than PPO and HMO plans. Members in this type of plan generally pay annual to receive benefits such as saving on every visit to any licensed dentist in a national network with no annual caps and no deductibles.
Each employee can receive preventative and restorative care at a discounted rate, along with cosmetic dentistry services. This plan does require more money out of pocket for each visit, and more intensive work can still wind up being on the expensive side, but it's still much better than having no discount at all.
Types of Services Covered
The amount you're willing and able to spend as a business owner will impact what dental services your employees can receive through your company's plan. Fortunately, premiums for preventative services are very affordable through group plans, and options that cover restorative work can be very reasonable as well.
Most group dental coverage plans will include routine preventive care services such as regular dental exams and routine cleanings under their basic services. Some plans also offer full or partial coverage for services such as extractions, and x-rays. PPOs and HMOs will generally cover all of the expenses associated with these services, minus copays and factoring any relevant deductible amounts.
Restorative Dental Services
In addition to preventive services, more comprehensive plans (PPOs with higher levels of coverage) can cover all or part of major services, such as gum restoration, fillings, bridges, implants, crowns, denture-related work, and complex oral surgery services. Plans that cover these kinds of services will often have higher premiums but can save a lot of money for members on expensive and emergency services.
Orthodontic services are corrective services such as braces and other treatments designed to straighten teeth. Many dental insurance plans will not offer coverage for orthodontic services, and generally an HMO won't help cover any costs as most specialists will be out of the network. However, PPO plans can help reduce costs since members with this type of plan receive benefits even out of network.
Some plans cover fees associated with accidents. As the name suggests, this cover is specifically meant to offset costs that your employees may incur if they need emergency care after accidentally hurting their mouths and incurring injuries such as tooth loss. Instead of going to the hospital, members with accident coverage can quickly receive treatment from specialist emergency dentists who are better equipped to deal with these emergencies than general medical professionals.
Group Dental Plans vs. Individual Dental Plans
Group dental plans are appealing to current and potential employees for several reasons. Not only are the premiums more affordable, group insurance often helps cover dependents such as spouses and children.
An advantage of allowing your employees to enroll in a group dental plan is that the enrolled individuals share the cost through a voluntary payroll deduction, and buying insurance in bulk for multiple people unlocks extra discounts not available to individuals. Another appealing aspect for employees is the fact that employers who offer dental insurance are required to pay a portion of the costs, which can help make wellness even more affordable.
The Bottom Line
While companies with 50+ employees are required to offer health insurance options, dental care is voluntary coverage, so it isn't mandatory (nor is vision care) when it comes to insurance policies. However, whether you're a small business or a large business, offering dental insurance options as a voluntary benefit can be beneficial to both your company and your employees in many ways.
Your company may be able to save money with tax credits, and you can provide a valuable employee benefit that is worth much more than it costs the company. This can keep current employees happier and entice potential new talent to work for you when they may have otherwise passed on the opportunity.
If you think the dental care costs may be too high, there are many options you can consider to keep prices down. Some of these options include offering less coverage company-wide or offering less coverage as part of a benefits package to part-time employees.
Group dental insurance and health plans help keep your employees healthier, and healthier employees need less sick days and time off, which can help boost overall productivity within your company.
Choosing the Right Insurance Plan
Not all options will be available to all businesses. There are a number of factors that come into play, including what group health insurance plans you've opted for. Network benefits can vary by zip code, and network coverage options will vary by location.
With so many variables to consider, offering dental coverage through your business can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, you don't have to figure everything out on your own. The experts at 19:21 Consultants specialize in employee benefits and can help you find the best program choices for your unique needs and goals.
We aren't locked into a single provider so we're able to compare a wide range of plans for group health insurance, dental insurance, and other benefits that can improve your business. Contact us today and we'll take care of the stressful parts and make it simple to choose which options are best for you.