Broker blog from Delta Dental

Category: Group dental coverage

2021 Small Business Program changes: Overview

The end of 2020 is right around the corner, and that can mean only one thing: updates to plan portfolios for 2021! In particular, big changes are coming to the Small Business Program (SBP) portfolio.

Introducing the three-level system

The biggest update to the SBP portfolio in 2021 is the new three-level plan structure. Whether Delta Dental PPO™, Delta Dental PPO Plus Premier™ or DeltaCare® USA, all plans will now be classified Deluxe, Advantage or Core.

  • Core plans offer the baseline benefits and value that Delta Dental plans are known for.
  • Advantage plans balance the value offered by Core plans with the expanded benefits and coverage of Deluxe plans.
  • Deluxe plans offer the most coverage and the highest levels of benefits without compromise.

More, more, more

Delta Dental PPO plans are getting more of the benefits and options that brokers’ clients have been asking for. These new features include:

  • More coverage for popular benefits, like white fillings in front and back teeth
  • More dual choice and Core/Buy-Up plans for clients looking for more plan options
  • More voluntary plan choices
  • More plans for groups with 2–4 employees
  • And even more!

It’s all about value

When your clients think about Delta Dental, they think of great benefits and amazing value. The changes coming in 2021 are going to make that even clearer. These plans are going to be easier to understand, feature more of the benefits your clients will love and offer coverage for more groups no matter their size.

Stay tuned for more posts with updates on our 2021 SBP portfolio!

Help check enrollee notices off clients’ year-end to-do list

With the holiday season in full swing, sometimes the daily to-do lists can seem never-ending. That’s why we want to help your clients cross one thing off their list: Educating new enrollees — and reminding current enrollees — about their rights.

Federal and state laws require groups to notify enrollees about enrollee rights and privacy practices.1 The good news is, we’ve made it easy for your clients to share this information.

You can learn more about the notices on our administrator web pages. Enrollees can also view and download each notice on our website. Additionally, during open enrollment we provide groups with an enrollee flyer summarizing the notices.

Remind clients to share the notices with current enrollees annually, and with all new enrollees within 30 days of eligibility.

Here are some ways clients can share:

  • Post the notices on the company Intranet
  • Email employees a link to the notices
  • Place copies of the notices in common areas, or in the HR area
  • Include copies of the notices in your next company mailing

If clients or their enrollees have any questions about the notices, they can call 866–530-9675.

 

For more tips from Delta Dental, subscribe to Insider Update, our newsletter for brokers, agents and consultants.

If you’re a benefits decision maker, administrator or HR professional, subscribe to our group newsletter, Word of Mouth.

 

1 Self-funded groups are not required to share Delta Dental’s enrollee notices and may opt to use their own notices; however, these notices cannot be in conflict with Delta Dental’s practices. If clients have questions about the notices, they can contact their account manager.

The cost correlation: Dental benefits may lower businesses’ overall health spend

4‑minute read

It’s common knowledge that oral health is linked to overall well-being. What might surprise you, however, is the significant impact employees’ oral health status can have on a business’s total health care budget. In fact, of the top 10 health conditions costing employers the most, five are linked to oral health.*

No. 1: Diabetes

Topping the list of costliest employer conditions is diabetes, affecting nearly one in 10 Americans. Not only do diabetics face a higher than normal risk for developing oral health problems like periodontal disease and oral infections, but these problems may be more severe for a diabetic person. It’s not all bad news though. It’s been suggested that treating gum disease can help control blood sugar in diabetic patients, which may slow disease progression. And, receiving routine dentist cleanings and practicing healthy oral hygiene habits may help to lower HbA1c levels (average blood glucose over time).

No. 2: Cancer

Oral cancer is likely not the first cancer that comes to mind for most of us. Yet, head and neck cancers (85% of which are oral) account for approximately $3.2 billion in treatment costs each year.

Oftentimes, the early symptoms of oral cancers go unnoticed by patients, making them particularly dangerous. That’s why regular dental exams are so important. Dentists and dental hygienists may be able to identify the signs and symptoms of oral cancers when they’re still in the early or even pre-cancerous stages.

No. 5: Heart disease

The dental industry has been aware of the correlation between heart disease and oral health for years, and supporting evidence continues to emerge. While we still can’t say the relationship between oral health and heart health is causal, new research suggests that poor dental health, including gum disease and infrequent toothbrushing, may be a risk factor for heart disease.

No. 6: Hypertension

Recently, an association between hypertension and dental health has also been found — specifically blood pressure control. A new study showed that those with gum disease were less likely to respond to hypertension medications than those with good oral health. The authors of this study go on to say that “those with high blood pressure might benefit from regular dental care”.

No. 10: High-risk pregnancy

Compared to the average employer medical costs for a healthy, full-term baby, the costs for premature and/or low-birth weight babies is nearly 12 times as much. While the relationship between periodontal disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes is still being explored, we do know that a mother’s health can impact her baby — and oral health is no exception. Research suggests that expectant mothers with poor oral health may face higher risks of pre-term delivery and of passing disease-causing bacteria to their child. This makes it even more important for expectant mothers to receive regular dental exams during pregnancy. The dentist can evaluate the individual needs of the mother and may even recommend an additional cleaning.

How can dental benefits help?

Regular dental care can help manage certain health conditions and even detect some early, which can help prevent costly medical expenses in the future.

However, dental benefits may be able to do more than cover routine dental care to improve wellness. Ask these questions to find out how well a dental carrier can boost overall health and your clients’ bottom line:

  • Is there extra support for those with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease? Providing additional coverage to enrollees with certain medical conditions may prevent or halt the progression of disease, which can help manage dental and medical expenses down the road.
  • How can clients track employees’ oral health status? Regular reporting on enrollees’ oral health habits can highlight where a group is doing well and help identify areas where enrollees can improve oral health, and in turn, improve overall health.
  • How is oral health supported during pregnancy? Are additional cleanings covered? An extra cleaning during pregnancy can lead to healthier babies and may lower certain pregnancy risks associated with oral bacteria.
  • Are oral health and wellness resources readily available? Enrollees may not even be aware of the impact oral health can have on their overall health. Carriers who provide valuable wellness resources can help encourage enrollees to be active participants in their oral health.

For more thought leadership from Delta Dental, subscribe to Insider Update, our newsletter for brokers, agents and consultants.

If you’re a benefits decision maker, administrator or HR professional, subscribe to our group newsletter, Word of Mouth.


*The oral health information in this article is not intended to be used as medical advice. Always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning oral health.

Expert advice on benefits open enrollment

Are your clients looking for fresh ideas to make open enrollment events more engaging? Or do they need Delta Dental-specific open enrollment tips? If so, have no fear. We enlisted the help of some of our stellar account service staff to deliver tips and tricks to make this year your clients’ best-ever open enrollment period.

Open enrollment strategies for any organization

The best advice for engaging your clients’ workforce to enroll in benefits? Spice it up! They can try making open enrollment something their employees can learn from, and something they’re motivated to actively participate in.

If your clients are hosting health or benefits fairs, they can incent employees to participate. Organizations can use a world traveler theme and issue each attendee a passport to wellness. All they need to do is provide each vendor a distinct passport stamp, and encourage their employees to fill their passport with stamps before exiting the event. Your clients can even enter full passport holders into a raffle for a prize. Attendees will come intrigued, and leave with the information they need to make educated benefits decisions that could save them (and your clients) benefits dollars.

Your clients can also use a scavenger hunt for fairs. They can provide attendees with question cards for each vendor, and task them with finding the right answer. Then they can score each attendee’s card and give them a prize or recognition for being a benefits all-star!

If these concepts don’t work for your clients, or if they’re pressed for time, open enrollment newsletters can also help deliver helpful benefits information. Businesses can highlight the plans they’re offering in the coming year, call out any important changes and allow vendors to link to their websites or other resources for more information.

Open enrollment tips for Delta Dental clients

If your clients already offer a Delta Dental plan, here are some Delta Dental-specific tips to help them streamline enrollment.

In addition to sharing any resources your client creates, they should encourage enrollees to check out our website and register for online services. When enrollees have access to their benefits information at their fingertips, it’s a win-win for everyone.

If your clients have any last-minute enrollment updates, additions or terminations, they can make changes using our online Eligibility Management Application (EMA).*

For more information about managing their Delta Dental plan, direct your clients to the administrators section of our website.


Want more benefits solutions, industry news or HR tips and tricks? Subscribe to Insider Update.

If you’re an employer, benefits administrator or HR professional, subscribe to Word of Mouth.


*Access to EMA is only available for mid-size and large employer groups. Pooled groups should consult their plan’s administrator for more information on eligibility and enrollment updates.

Service meetings: What’s good for the group is good for the broker

Let’s work together to support your clients.

Just like we encourage enrollees to visit the dentist regularly to keep their smiles healthy, we want to help your clients’ bottom line stay healthy too! That’s why we suggest our mid- and large-sized groups meet with us every year — virtually or face-to-face — to evaluate plan performance, review reports and address any questions.

Service meetings aren’t just for the group — they’re for you, too. We want to make sure we’re all on the same page when it comes to supporting your client. Here are a few ways service meetings can help us do that:

Help clients be proactive.
When evaluating your clients’ plan performance, the report can help point out red flags – for instance, a decrease in utilization for D & P services. The report can highlight these areas to improve upon, and we can offer solutions together to better meet client objectives in the near term and down the road.

Provide tailored support.
No two annual service meetings are the same. Based on your clients’ unique needs, we can also provide content to help educate enrollees. If enrollees need to understand the cost advantages of in-network utilization for example, we offer a suite of materials to help them find an in-network dentist. Or if we notice a client has had several recent questions about claims, we might take time this to review claims examples.

Save clients’ time (and yours).
Don’t like meetings? Here’s the good part — we’ve already put in the time carefully reviewing your clients’ plan performance before we meet, so we’ll only highlight the information they really need to know. When we all chat, we can focus on their successes and offer solutions where needed.

Whether you’ve worked with us for years, or just a year, we encourage you to participate in a service meeting with your clients. And remember, you can reach out to us any time (not just for a service meeting)!

Singled out: 3 benefits of stand-alone group dental

What’s great about being single? When it comes to stand-alone dental plans, there are many important things for your group clients (and you) to consider. Do your clients know the benefits of stand-alone benefits? Let’s break it down:

  1. If your clients don’t already offer dental coverage, do they know that dental benefits are, generally, worth the premium? Here’s a sample of enrollee costs — in a voluntary plan.

Dental coverage is more than a way to attract and retain talent and help keep your clients’ workforce productive; it’s an affordable addition to a benefits package when you put network savings into perspective. (Despite what others may say.) You can use the graphic below to help communicate the value of dental benefits to your clients who don’t already offer coverage.

 

  1. For clients who are considering combining their benefits, do they know the pros and cons of embedded coverage?

With more than half of Americans enrolled in health plans with deductibles higher than $1,000, some of your clients may not be offering meaningful benefits. With a high combined medical/dental deductible to satisfy before the plan covers dental costs, it may be difficult for healthy enrollees to receive meaningful dental coverage.

  1. Have your clients considered the value of stand-alone customer service?

Taking some of the guesswork out of service makes things easier. You wouldn’t ask your electrician for plumbing advice, would you?

We offer group clients an effective service model: national service with local support. Your clients receive account service from a single point of contact, and their enrollees receive dental-specific tools and technology, claims processing with dental consultant staff review and dedicated benefits and claims customer service.

To learn more about our stand-alone dental benefits, contact your local account executive. If you don’t know your contact, you can find a regional sales office on our directory.

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