Broker blog from Delta Dental

Category: Group dental coverage (Page 1 of 4)

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 self-insured group clients boost their 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 applauding them 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 substantial 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 for your self-insured group clients? Contact your Account Executive!

Pair dental and vision coverage with DeltaVision®

Clients love the simplicity that comes from paired plans. Easy-to-manage invoicing and a simpler benefits search make for a more enjoyable shopping and buying experience. DeltaVision® will help you bring vision and dental coverage to your small business clients in a single package.

What is DeltaVision?

DeltaVision is a vision plan offered to SBP clients in partnership with VSP. Whether a small business group has as few as two members or as many as 99, it can add vision coverage with DeltaVision. Please note: DeltaVision plans must be purchased with one of Delta Dental’s SBP dental plans and can’t be purchased separately.

Why is DeltaVision the right choice for my clients?

DeltaVision offers more than just basic vision coverage. In addition to regular check-ups and coverage for frames and lenses, DeltaVision plans feature:

  • An industry-leading network. DeltaVision plans feature VSP’s nationwide network with access to tens of thousands of doctors.
  • Flexible prices. DeltaVision is available at different price points, just like SBP dental plans, so it’s easy to find the right fit for your clients’ budgets.
  • Enhanced savings. Through VSP, DeltaVision members will enjoy extra savings on glasses and sunglasses, routine retinal screenings and laser vision correction procedures.
  • Expanded benefits. Similar to the optional SmileWay® Wellness Benefits available under dental plans, DeltaVision members with diabetes are eligible for the Diabetic Eyecare Plus Program, which includes additional exams and services for diabetic eye disease, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
  • Easy-to-understand choices. The DeltaVision Easy Options plan lets members choose the benefits that suit their needs from a frame allowance or a contact lens allowance. (Easy Options is currently available in Utah and is pending regulation in other states.)

Where is DeltaVision available?

For effective dates in 2022, DeltaVision plans are currently available in AL, CA, DC, DE, FL, GA, LA, MT, NV, PA, UT and WV. DeltaVision plans are available to brokers working with Allied Administrators.

Don’t wait to bring vision coverage to your small business clients. To get started with DeltaVision, contact a sales representative or your general agent today.

3 ways to rethink employee benefits communication strategies

During your clients’ open enrollment, they probably receive a flood of questions from their employees about their health benefits. But questions and confusion about benefits don’t begin and end with open enrollment. And for most companies, confusion about benefits is a major problem.

  • Only 39% of employees fully understood their company health insurance policies, according to a recent survey.
  • Nearly 20% said they weren’t sure they understood the benefits they signed up for.
  • Almost half weren’t sure what their annual health coverage costs were.

The same survey found that this confusion about benefits can overwhelm employees, to the point that they often give up trying to understand them.

  • Nearly 20% of surveyed employees said they didn’t do any research before choosing their health benefits.
  • More than 90% said they simply sign up for the same benefits year after year.

As a result, your clients’ employees may be spending too much to over-insure themselves, or conversely might be compromising their health by passing on important benefits to try to cut costs.

This confusion can be bad for their company’s bottom line as well, wasting available benefits and contributing to rising health care costs. In fact, some HR professionals estimate that as much as 40% of their company’s total health care spending is wasted because of employee confusion. That’s a lot.

With is in mind, it might be time to help your clients rethink their benefits communication game.

Benefits communication: It’s not just for open enrollment anymore

Certainly, reaching out to employees about their benefits during open enrollment is always a good idea. But remember that employees also have questions and concerns about benefits throughout the year, and particularly when they have to use them. 

With that in mind, look for opportunities to help your clients educate their employees during key moments:

  • At the beginning of the calendar or plan year, they can remind their employees about new benefits available to them or that their new deductibles and maximums have reset
  • At the end of the calendar or plan year, they can encourage them to use their benefits before their deductibles and maximums reset
  • During the summer, they can suggest that their employees take their kids to the dentist before they return to school
  • When their employees move, or they move their office to a new area, they can offer employees tips on how to find a nearby in-network dentist
  • When their employees experience a qualifying life event, such as getting married or having a baby, they can explain how to add a dependent to their dental plans

Helping their employees help themselves

A single 20-something employee with a pet iguana is going to have very different health care needs than a married 50-year-old with a large family. What they might have in common, though, is their understanding of health care plans and their lingo — next to none.

So rather than simply mailing out printed plan guides that most employees don’t read anyway, suggest resources that target individual employees and their unique needs to help them choose a plan that’s right for them.

  • For example, Delta Dental offers answers to frequently asked questions, which includes information about dental plans, such as the difference between PPO and DHMO-type plans, explanations of networks and orthodontic benefits and many other topics.
  • Delta Dental also offers helpful videos that explain Delta Dental plans, networks and more.

They should also be as transparent as possible with costs. Suggest that they explain specifically how much employees will pay when they enroll in different plans.

Benefits are a two-way street

As your clients strive to better educate their employees about benefits, make sure they don’t miss the opportunity to have their employees educate them as well. Given the chance, employees can provide your clients with valuable information about what they want — and don’t want — in their benefits. Help them give employees multiple forums to share feedback, such as:

  • Q&A sessions
  • Polls
  • Surveys

The questions and comments they receive can help you and your clients tailor their benefits communication strategies by uncovering new issues, such questions about virtual dental care options.

Remember, benefits communication is about more than open enrollment. Building a strong communications strategy is important for the health of both your clients’ employees and companies. By creating effective, personalized and tech-friendly communications, they’ll potentially save money and time, and ensure that their employees get the benefits they want and need.

Orthodontics are becoming a more important benefit

Brace yourself — National Orthodontic Health Month is here! Orthodontics are more than just a luxury treatment for teens; they’re an important benefit that groups can use to attract and retain talent and that individuals of any age may need for positive dental outcomes. Here’s a closer look at how the market for orthodontic coverage has grown and what kind of coverage Delta Dental offers.

Braces — a growing benefit

Braces do more than give people a pretty smile. By ensuring proper alignment of the teeth, orthodontics can make it easier to bite, chew and speak. Misaligned teeth are also harder to clean and can wear in unusual ways. Far from being a luxury, orthodontic treatment can be essential to proper dental health.

When you imagine an average person with braces, you probably picture a teenager. While most of the over 4 million people in the United States who are currently undergoing orthodontic treatment are teens, over 25% of current patients are adults, and these numbers are expected to grow. The number of adults seeing orthodontists is at an all-time high, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, and that means the pool of prospective ortho patients is wider than it’s ever been. Even childless adults, such as skilled professionals straight out of college or grad school, may be interested in orthodontic benefits.

Employees expect to see dental insurance among their benefits, and orthodontic coverage can help employers’ plans stand out from competitors. Fortunately, Delta Dental plans offer orthodontic coverage at affordable price points.

Without insurance, prospective orthodontic patients can expect to pay between $3,000 and $6,000 for comprehensive treatment. Delta Dental plans can help cut these costs in half.

What kind of orthodontic coverage does Delta Dental offer?

Orthodontic coverage is available under both Delta Dental PPO™ and DeltaCare® USA:

  • Group-sponsored Delta Dental PPO plans vary and may include orthodontic coverage. Some plans limit orthodontic coverage to children under 19, and others cover orthodontics for both children and adults.
  • Among individual PPO plans, the Premium Plan includes coverage for child and adult orthodontics.
  • All DeltaCare USA plans, including group-sponsored and individual, cover orthodontics.

PPO plans are usually subject to lifetime orthodontic maximum, and DeltaCare USA plans have set copayments with no maximums or deductibles.

Specific orthodontic coverage varies by plan but may include:

  • Treatment for children only or both adults and children
  • Pre-orthodontic treatment visits
  • Exam and start-up records
  • X‑rays
  • Orthodontist-recommended tooth extractions
  • Comprehensive orthodontic treatment
  • Post-treatment records

Plans generally don’t cover the following:

  • Orthodontic treatment for children delivered in two phases
  • Appliances to correct harmful habits (like thumb-sucking)
  • Jaw surgery to facilitate orthodontic treatment
  • Treatment to prepare for other non-covered surgical procedures

Alternative appliances like Invisalign, mail-order appliances and teleorthodontistry generally aren’t, but Delta Dental usually still covers some of the orthodontic treatment costs, such as x‑rays and exams.

Help members understand their out-of-pocket costs. For PPO members, recommend they ask their orthodontist for a pre-treatment estimate. DeltaCare USA members can check their plan details for their copayments.

From children to adults, the interest in straighter healthier smiles is only growing. You won’t want to miss out on this rapidly expanding market! Be sure to talk to your groups and individual clients about orthodontic coverage.

With Delta Dental’s plans, more clients can find the orthodontic coverage they’re looking for at a price point they can afford, and that’s a great reason to smile.

Open enrollment: Resources and what’s new

Open enrollment can be difficult for your group clients to navigate, but they won’t have to go it alone. Flyers, videos and more are available to help them understand their coverage options, choose the right plans for their needs and make the most of their benefits.

What’s new

In addition to the annual updates to flyers and other material, new initiatives and resources are available for this year’s open enrollment season.

Virtual booths

Your clients who use virtual open enrollment software can get all the benefits of having an in-person Delta Dental representative virtually. With flyers, presentations and a live representative, a virtual booth session is the perfect educational source for employees who can’t make it into the office. (Virtual booth sessions with a live Delta Dental representative require a minimum of 100 attendees.)

Quality ratings for dentists

Choosing the right dentist can be tricky. The new DentaQual rating system provides a simple and objective rating system based on a dentist’s past performance. That makes it easy to find dentists who deliver effective, appropriate and fairly priced service.

Virtual dentistry

Two options are available for clients who are looking for teledentistry tools: Delta Dental – Virtual Consult (PDF) is a video-based app for members to consult with a Delta Dental dentist live, and Toothpic (PDF) is a photo-based app that lets members submit photos of problem areas for professional analysis.

The Cost Estimator and other tools from Delta Dental

Callback assist

When your clients contact Delta Dental’s Customer Service, they can now get a convenient callback instead of having to wait on the line.

A redesigned website

In 2020, we rolled out a whole new design for our website and refreshed its content. This new design makes finding answers easier, whether choosing a plan, understanding benefits or just looking for tips on maintaining a healthy smile. Some helpful pages are:

  • Delta Dental members resource page. Help members plan visits, know what to expect at the dentist’s office and what to do after they complete their visit. There’s also useful information about value-added benefits like virtual dentistry and a wellness library with articles, videos, recipes and more.
  • Delta Dental virtual dentistry page. Understand teledentistry and the differences between Virtual Consult and Toothpic.
  • Smile On. For clients with employees who may be retiring or ineligible for full-time benefits, Smile On is a great way for them to get affordable coverage that meets their needs.

New video content

These videos provide short and direct explanations of Delta Dental’s plans and features. Encourage your clients to share these videos on their websites or intranets. All they need to do is click the videos to navigate to YouTube, click Share > Embed and then copy and paste the code into their webpages or intranet sites. 

These videos also feature Spanish closed captioning. To turn on Spanish captions, click the settings symbol (the cogwheel icon), then click Subtitles/CC and choose Spanish from the list.

Delta Dental PPO™ network

All about the Delta Dental PPO network

Delta Dental PPO and Delta Dental Premier® networks

Get to know Delta Dental’s PPO and Premier networks

DeltaCare® USA 

Welcome to your DeltaCare USA plan

Online resources

Your online resources from Delta Dental

Online resources including the Cost Estimator

The Cost Estimator and other tools from Delta Dental

Flyers

For clients who are interested in an in-depth look at some of our value-added features, these flyers offer additional information.

Additionally, you may find the open enrollment benefits resources page useful for yourself or to share with clients. This page includes flyers that can be printed and shared with prospective Delta Dental members and current members. These flyers cover:

  • Plan basics
  • Using a Delta Dental plan
  • Understanding dentist networks
  • Accessing online resources
  • Orthodontic coverage (braces)
  • Individual coverage
  • Value-added features

Open enrollment doesn’t need to be a challenge. These online resources make it easier than ever before for prospective Delta Dental members to choose the right plan and make the most of their benefits!

Has COVID-19 changed open enrollment forever?

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused long-lasting changes to our priorities as a society and as individuals. From cancelled events, working from home and separation from friends and family, we’ve had to adapt to the situation as best we can. So, it’s no wonder that the uncertainty of the pandemic has caused enrollees’ priorities to shift.

Enrollment methods have changed

Due to COVID-19, most brokers experienced a change in their most frequently used enrollment method in 2020, according to a survey by BenefitsPRO. Only 2% of enrollees used paper enrollment forms, while 38% of enrollees signed up online, using self-service portals. For 76% of agencies, the way they do business has changed after 2020.

You should also expect that having online open enrollment may mean that your groups will be looking for any data you can share with them. Having hard data about what benefits are being selected, historic price information and other statistics about your current clients will help you gain more clients in the future.

Greater focus on the whole family

In the past year and a half, many adults became caregivers for their parents and took on education roles for their children while also working full-time. Employees are looking for benefits that extend to their family members and benefits that make the care of their family easier, like family and medical leave, assisted living coverage and child care coverage. Getting the whole family covered even extends to furry friends; the number of pets insured in North America has increased 23% since 2019.

Mental health services are more important than ever

The stress and difficulty of the pandemic have taken a toll on mental health. The percentage of adults in the U.S. who reported symptoms of anxiety and depression increased from 36% to 42% between August 2020 and February 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Before the pandemic, Americans only chose virtual options for mental health care 20% of the time. After the pandemic started, the American Psychiatric Association saw their own members’ usage of telehealth services jump to 85%.

Employers are responding by offering mental health benefits that include access to online resources and apps that address stress and difficulty sleeping. About 70% of employers planned to start, continue or expand investment in mental health resources in 2021, according to a survey by McKinsey & Company. Employers who invest in mental health coverage get results. Almost 86% of employees who are treated for depression symptoms show substantial improvement in work performance, according to one study.  

Employees expect to keep using telehealth options

While virtual visits won’t completely replace in-person visits any time soon, they’re definitely sticking around. Telehealth visits spiked during March 2020, but there were 10 times more telehealth visits in March 2021 than in March 2020, according to a market report.

Employees are using telehealth services and, in many cases, they expect to keep using it. In some cases, patients rated their interactions with their providers higher when they had virtual appointments than in-person. To appeal to a variety of employee preferences, Delta Dental offers two different kinds of virtual dentistry: video-based and photo-based.

Virtual events preferred over in-person

With many employees still working from home and continually changing safety recommendations, in-person enrollment events are still being pushed online. Luckily, virtual enrollment has advantages for you and your clients. Instead of fielding phone calls and emails all day, you can update your website in real time to address common questions. Enrollees can research and select benefits without having to keep track of physical papers or even leave the house.

What do successful virtual open enrollment events look like?  A study by Flimp Communications concluded that a high-performing open enrollment campaign includes:

  • Microsites. These websites are customized to fulfill your groups’ specific benefits needs with unique visuals, video and copy and can be used to address members’ frequently asked questions.
  • Video. Both short-form and long-form video have a place in your campaign. A short-form video may simply be a quick, supplemental explainer and a long-form video would be more detailed and available for employees on demand.
  • Links. Linking out to your enrollment portal, to helpful PDFs, contact pages or financial-wellness portals helps employees sign up for and best utilize their benefits.
  • Decision support. Tools that collect all key benefits information into one place and then make recommendations based on algorithms or questionnaires had higher-than-average engagement.
  • Analytics. With real-time analytics, you and your team can adjust to help employees answer questions online. When you know what drives traffic, what people want, and when people want it, you’ll be even better prepared for next time.

The pros and cons of virtual events

Technology has its limits, however. The Pew Research Center found that only 26% of internet users aged 65 years or older felt very confident when using electronics to get things done online. If all your materials are online, make sure they’re easy to find for everyone, regardless of skill with technology. That means clearly labeling links and having logical paths through your website, as well as making sure all materials can be easily downloaded and viewed without special software.

In that same vein, virtual open enrollment gives you the ability to be increasingly accessible to those with disabilities. Gaps in accessibility can leave individuals with visual, hearing and motor disabilities without the ability to make informed decisions about their health care. By using accessible websites, you make it easier for everyone in your clients’ groups to get health care. 

Open enrollment changes motivated by COVID-19 may be here to stay. Adapt your open enrollment offerings to serve your group clients’ needs during and beyond the pandemic. Being flexible and responsive helps ensure members understand their benefits for the year ahead and are able to get the coverage they need.

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