Insider Update

Broker blog from Delta Dental

Check out this email campaign to help your clients make the most of preventive care

Making full use of diagnostic and preventive services is one of the best things your group clients can do to stay healthy and save money. Regular trips to the dentist can help catch little problems before they become big ones. That means members can avoid potentially costly and painful dental problems and groups can save money and avoid lost productivity, all by increasing D&P utilization.

Enter the preventive care reminder campaign

The new preventive care reminder campaign can help your group clients boost D&P utilization. This is an email campaign for members who haven’t generated any dental claims in the past seven months. As part of this campaign, members will receive a series of three emails. They’ll receive:

  1. An email reminding them to schedule an appoint for a cleaning and exam.
  2. A congratulatory email after their visit for taking charge of their oral health. This email will also encourage them to set a reminder to return to the dentist in six months.
  3. A reminder email to schedule another exam and cleaning (if they chose to set one).

Does this campaign really work?

By comparing claims data across different groups, we’ve found a 37% increase in preventive care utilization rates among employees who receive and open preventive care reminder emails.

Higher D&P utilization means healthier smiles for members, more savings for group clients and another perk you can use to make selling Delta Dental even easier. That’s what we call win-win-win.

Want more info about the preventive care reminder campaign? Contact your Account Manager!

Effective discount: Understanding a plan’s true savings

When your group clients consider a PPO dental plan, certainly one of the deciding factors is savings — during a dental visit, how much will this plan save my employees?

Traditionally, a good way to judge this has been to consider the plan’s PPO network discount, or the discount offered on dental services when visiting a dentist within the plan’s PPO network. After factoring in the fees, the greater the discount, the better the plan, right?

Not exactly. While PPO network discount is one chapter of savings, it’s not the whole story. A more accurate way to gauge a plan’s true savings is to consider the plan’s effective discount. The effective discount considers the average savings enrollees receive when visiting any dentist, either in network or out of network.

It’s here where Delta Dental offers a unique advantage: the Delta Dental PPO™ plan with the Delta Dental Premier® network.

With most PPO plans, the PPO network is absolute — you’re in or you’re out. And if you visit an out-of-network dentist, you’re responsible for the full cost of dental services provided by that dentist. The Premier network offers a secondary network that acts as a “safety net” if a PPO enrollee can’t find, or chooses not to visit, a dentist within the PPO network.

While the Premier network provides a smaller discount than the PPO network, the combined size of the two networks — more than 155,000 unique dentists as of 2020 — ensures that most people covered under a PPO plan can visit a Delta Dental dentist and save. This large network enables Delta Dental to deliver a national network utilization rate of 94%, compared to an average PPO utilization of 65% for competitor networks.

And it’s this safety net that often makes a Delta Dental PPO plan a better value than one from another company.

For example, let’s look at a theoretical example in which there are two group PPO plans with identical fees: one from Delta Dental and one from a carrier without a secondary network. In each scenario, 10 people are insured. Five visit PPO dentists and receive a discount, and five visit non-PPO dentists. The Delta Dental plan provides a 35% discount at PPO dentists. The other plan provides a 36% discount at PPO dentists.

Given the otherwise identical scenarios, it might at first seem that the plan with the higher PPO network discount offers the better value. However, in the Delta Dental plan, four people can visit a Premier dentist for a 19% discount. Because only one person visits a non–Delta Dental dentist, the group receives a total effective discount of 25%. Contrast this with the other plan. Because half receive no discount at all, the effective discount is only 18%.

It’s not surprising then that Delta Dental offers groups the best effective discount in the country, averaging 29.4% nationally in 2019, according to a July 2020 study by Dental Actuarial Analytics. This equals more than $8.2B in savings for enrollees annually when compared to dentists’ average charges for services.

So, remember when speaking with your group clients: Savings is more than PPO discounts. When you consider effective discount, you offer a complete story. One with an ending your clients should like.

Why companies need ancillary benefits

Dentist documents findings during an exam with patient.

By offering companies a way to enhance their employee benefit package, you are providing them a marketplace advantage for retaining a motivated, healthy workforce.

Nearly 60% of responding hiring managers, human resources professionals and workers identified better benefits as a key strategy to strengthen connections with employees and reduce turnover, according to a 2018 Career Builder survey. To achieve this goal, companies are looking to add ancillary benefits.

What are ancillary benefits?

An ancillary benefit covers a specific need not addressed by the group medical insurance plan. Dental, vision, life, disability and even pet insurance are complementary products that can be integrated into company benefit packages.

This is how companies can strengthen connections with their employees. Ancillary benefits deliver value through access to health care plans and financial solutions that enhance total wellness, lower out-of-pocket expenses and give peace of mind.

What is the value of an ancillary benefit?

Through ancillary benefits, companies show that their priorities match employees’ priorities. According to an American Dental Association survey, 30% of young adults have tooth decay, 35% reported difficulty biting or chewing and feeling embarrassment at the condition of their teeth and 59% of respondents reported cost as the top reason for not visiting the dentist. 

Companies saved $5.8 billion over four years by offering stand-along vision plans, according to a study by the HCMS Group. Widespread computer use can lead to digital eye strain, and plans generally include coverage for a comprehensive eye exam, contact lenses or glasses, and allowances for LASIK or PRK refractive surgery.

Although 75% of millennials don’t carry life insurance, this benefit becomes more important to them in later stages of their careers. The average worker has a 30% chance of becoming disabled, so a short-term or long-term insurance plan provides backup. Millennials make up 35% of all pet owners, and a 2018 survey by the Society of Human Resource Management revealed that 11% of U.S. employers offered pet insurance, up from 6% in 2014, and one in three Fortune 500 companies offered it.

Companies can use surveys to find out what employees are seeking, and then shape ancillary benefit options accordingly. You can help employers achieve their strategic goal by providing what their employees want.

Why should companies offer ancillary benefits?

As an ancillary benefit, a dental insurance plan, for example, includes diagnostic and preventive services that go beyond maintaining employees’ oral health. Dentists not only evaluate periodontal disease but also diagnose symptoms of major health issues, such as diabetes, during routine exams. Early detection enables employees to seek treatment that may avoid more expensive interventions. It can help your company control long-term health care costs and provide financial stability for employees.

In a vision insurance plan, an annual eye exam can reveal symptoms of chronic conditions such as diabetes, high blood sugar or high cholesterol.

When you show the return on investment in an ancillary benefit to a company, through cost of premiums versus cost of claims, it can support the case for adding it for employees. You can offer a Delta Dental plan that easily complements, and integrates with, an existing group medical plan. This ancillary benefit can increase both workers’ job satisfaction and wellness.

New videos help explain Delta Dental’s networks and online tools

With a new series of educational videos, it’s easy to help your clients make the most of their plans. Whether your clients offer Delta Dental PPO™, DeltaCare® USA or both, you’ll find useful resources to showcase Delta Dental’s networks and online tools.

Get to know Delta Dental’s online tools

Encourage members to sign up for an online account. This video walks members through the robust online tools Delta Dental offers, including plan details, claim history, personalized cost estimates, the online dentist directory and a wealth of wellness resources.

What if your client’s plan doesn’t include the Cost Estimator? No worries. This shorter version of the same video touches on the same helpful features, minus the personalized cost estimate.

Understand the Delta Dental networks

A PPO plan offers savings, quality assurance and simplicity. This video explains the advantages of this plan and how your clients’ enrollees can find a PPO dentist online.

Want to include the Delta Dental Premier® network to offer a wider selection of dentists? This video introduces both the PPO and Premier networks and explain how to search for both in our dentist directory.

For clients that offer a DeltaCare USA plan, this video covers the basics of this prepaid plan and shows how to select a primary care dentist.

Ensure accessibility

These videos were designed with accessibility in mind. While the vibrant visuals support the narration, all key messages are conveyed in the audio, which can also be accessed through closed captioning.

Share the videos easily

To share these videos on your website or intranet, just click on the videos to navigate to YouTube. Below the video you wish to share, click on Share > Embed. Then copy and paste the code into your webpage or intranet site.

New teledentistry options: Toothpic and Virtual Consult

Two new teledentistry options have come to Delta Dental PPO™ and Delta Dental Premier® plans. Say hello to Toothpic and Delta Dental – Virtual Consult.

Utilizing these options doesn’t require any changes to the way members use or pay for their benefits. Instead, it’s a new way for members to use existing plan benefits — remotely. These new tools are an ongoing covered benefit and have no additional administrative costs or access fees for Delta Dental clients or members.1 When members use either of these tools, they can rest easy knowing that they’ll be connected with a licensed Delta Dental dentist they can trust.

Toothpic

Toothpic is a secure HIPAA-compliant app that provides a photo-based virtual dental screening from anywhere you have a smart device and an internet connection. It’s perfect for those who want a dental checkup with a Delta Dental dentist without an appointment. Toothpic lets members:

  • Get evaluations on their own schedule by submitting pictures of their mouth, teeth and gums
  • Receive a personalized in-depth report from a Delta Dental dentist within 24 hours
  • Check in for diagnoses on areas of concern and get info about their next steps 

Virtual Consult

Virtual Consult is a secure HIPAA-compliant video-based tool for having a virtual appointment with a dentist. It’s ideal for those who have urgent oral care needs, like pain or a cracked or chipped tooth, and want to speak directly with a Delta Dental dentist. With Virtual Consult, members can:

  • Schedule and have a video appointment with a Delta Dental dentist without leaving home
  • Have quick, real-time consultations on urgent issues even if they don’t have a dentist they see regularly
  • Get an e‑prescription and aftercare instructions for pain or infection

Virtual dentistry allows members to receive a diagnosis from the comfort of their own home. Whether they’re just looking for a quick check-in or have an urgent concern, these teledentistry options can help them meet their needs with all the ease telehealth offers.

1. Members who have 100% coverage for oral evaluations and who have not exceeded their frequency limitations for office visits or limited oral evaluations are eligible to use Toothpic and Virtual Consult. Using Toothpic to receive a diagnostic report or using Virtual Consult for a remote visit each count as one office visit/oral evaluation for the purpose of frequency limitations.

2021 Small Business Program: Networks made simpler

A new video is now available to help explain the Delta Dental PPO™ and Delta Dental Premier® networks. Designed especially for Small Business Program (SBP) clients, this video highlights the differences and similarities between these networks.

Two networks, one satisfying experience

This video will help SBP clients understand the following points about our networks:

  • Members with a Delta Dental PPO plan can see any licensed dentist.
  • Between the PPO and Premier networks, Delta Dental has the nation’s largest dental network1 — finding in-network dentists is easy.
  • Members with Delta Dental PPO plans will usually save the most when they visit a PPO dentist. For members who want to visit a Premier dentist, a Delta Dental PPO Plus Premier™ plan will help increase their savings.

Stay tuned for more updates on our 2021 SBP portfolio! Looking for an overview of the SBP portfolio as a whole? We’ve got you covered.

1 Delta Dental Premier is the largest dentist network nationwide based on total unique dentists, as of March 2020, according to Zelis Network360.

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