Broker blog from Delta Dental

Category: Insights for selling (Page 1 of 6)

Get tips and tricks to help you sell Delta Dental plans.

Selling dental insurance to young adults

The pandemic has been difficult for young adults. More than half of 18- to 29-year-olds are living with their parents, which is the most since the Great Depression, according to a recent Pew Research analysis. Millennials and Gen Z employees lost their jobs first when the pandemic hit and moved in with their parents to save money and get health care coverage.

But time is running out for them. Many fall off their parents’ dental coverage at age 26. This creates an opportunity for you to sign up young adults for individual coverage. How do you do this? Let’s take a closer look.

Why young adults lack dental coverage

The Affordable Care Act requires plans that have dependent child coverage to extend it until an adult child reaches the age of 26, even if the child is a student or has moved out, gotten married or had a child. Adult children on their parents’ Marketplace plan can generally remain covered through December 31 of the year they turn 26.

But they’re not seeking other insurance after this occurs. After 26, there’s a drop-off in dental coverage for young adults. In 2021, Delta Dental claims decreased about 20% after age 26, which is the largest year-to-year drop by age.

Why is this?

  • Many young people lack employer-sponsored dental coverage. Almost one in every four workers ages 20 to 34 wasn’t working in 2020, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Those who are working may pick up health insurance from their employer, but only 40% of employees received dental benefits from private employers in March 2021, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Young people may not consider their dental health. Young adults have a tendency to feel invincible, and this feeling overrides any dental health concerns they may have. They’re not thinking about the long-term effects of poor oral health when they are going out on a night with friends, having a latte, or buying a new gadget or expensive vacation.

Selling strategies

To sell to Gen Z and millennials, you need to focus on the immediate benefits of dental insurance. Delta Dental PPO™ plans cover 100% of diagnostic and preventive services, so all members need to do is make an appointment and show up. Two exams a year, coupled with x‑rays and professional cleanings, can pay for their premiums.

Second, make buying easy. Convenience is big for young people. Since they’re used to buying services and products on a smartphone or tablet, make sure you have an online presence with an easy way to compare and purchase plans. And remember to include your unique broker link on your marketing materials.

Finally, stress the long-term impact of dental insurance on their wallet. If left untreated, a cavity can progress to the point where a patient may need a root canal, crown or even an implant. Uninsured patients can pay an average of $2,600 out of pocket on these procedures, according to data for 2021. That’s compared with only about $550 out of pocket for patients with Delta Dental PPO. These figures are for illustrative purposes only, but they show the ultimate savings that dental insurance provides.

Delta Dental offers options 

So, what plan should they buy?

Young adults who are coming off their parents’ plan may want to keep their family dentist. In this case, the Delta Dental PPO plan, which lets them go to any dentist, would be ideal for prospective buyers. They can choose between the Basic Plan and the Premium Plan, depending on their budget and needs.

If young people are concerned about money, DeltaCare® USA, a DHMO-type plan may be a good fit. This plan has no deductibles or plan maximums, and it’s easy to see what services are covered. This makes it easy to understand for consumers unfamiliar with dental insurance. Members have to choose an in-network dentist, but they pay a fixed copayment for covered procedures, so it’s easy to budget for dental expenses.

Delta Dental members also have access to perks such as:

You can also use our broker resources for selling, including brochures, videos and on-demand webinars with tips on selling individual plans.

You may not be selling a new device or a thrilling vacation to young adults, but if you keep the focus on what they’ll get in the immediate future as well as down the road, they may think twice before buying that latte next time and set aside some money for their dental premium.


Why dental insurance makes financial sense

When explaining the value of a dental plan to group members, you may come up against resistance. People often understand that they need health insurance, but they may not recognize the value of dental insurance. But dental coverage not only helps members protect their teeth. It can also save them money and prevent a mouthful of financial problems.

Let’s crunch the numbers

For about $33 per month — the average premium for a member covered under an employer-sponsored Delta Dental PPO™ plan — group members can receive coverage for a variety of dental services. That’s the cost of two sugar-filled lattes every week. And what will that cover?

New patients typically need dental exams, cleanings and x‑rays. Uninsured patients might pay an average of $95 for an exam, $172 for a set of four bitewing x‑rays and $102 for a professional cleaning.

If you add up the numbers, that’s $369 for one visit — almost an entire year’s worth of premiums. Considering they’ll usually need two cleanings per year, the costs could potentially add up to $566 for an uninsured person.

But under most Delta Dental PPO plans, diagnostic and preventive services are covered at 100%. That means that even with premiums, patients will be paying 30% less than they would out of pocket.

These costs are illustrative, and plan coverage varies.

Serious dental procedures add up

The value of dental insurance, however, goes beyond diagnostic and preventive care.

Filling a cavity can cost an uninsured patient anywhere from $243 to $296, depending on how many surfaces need to be filled. That same procedure for an insured patient may cost about $30, based on Delta Dental PPO nationwide averages. That’s $266 in savings for each filling.

A root canal and a crown for an uninsured patient may cost about $2,644. But for Delta Dental PPO members, out-of-pocket costs average $564 — which means $2,080 in savings.

And Delta Dental members enjoy additional savings. In-network dentists can’t charge members above preapproved, discounted rates. For uninsured patients, there are no limits to what dentists can charge them.

Dental insurance equals healthier teeth

Adults with dental coverage are almost a third more likely to go to the dentist as those without coverage, according to a 2020 report released by Delta Dental Plans Association. How does this affect group members’ pocketbooks?

Untreated dental care can be costly. More than a quarter of all Americans have untreated tooth decay, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Almost half of all people over 30 years old have signs of gum disease. The less likely members are to visit a dentist, the more likely they are to have costly problems that will eventually need to be treated.

Remember these stats when you’re talking about dental insurance with your group clients. It’s not just about peace of mind. It really makes financial sense to get coverage, and it may even encourage members to go to the dentist and keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Why leased networks don’t deliver

When it comes to dental coverage, having a large, dependable dentist network is crucial for quality dental care and reliable, cost-saving in-network access.

One of the unique advantages your clients enjoy with Delta Dental is network size. Our proprietary dentist networks are the nation’s largest. How large? Our combined Delta Dental PPO™ and Delta Dental Premier® networks feature more than 155,000 unique dentists, as of September 2021, according to Zelis Network360.

And to ensure quality care, we contract directly with each of our dentists and, most importantly, never lease our networks. That’s not the case with most other carriers, which lease dentist networks from other carriers to boost their numbers.

Of course, you might say to yourself, numbers are numbers ― if the network is large and my clients and their employees can visit a dentist, why does the type of network matter?

Because with leased networks, these numbers can be deceiving. What’s more, leased networks come with serious disadvantages for members.

To help understand some of these disadvantages, let’s first take a look at what leased networks are and how they work.

How leased networks work

A leased network arrangement is when one carrier agrees to share its dentist network, or a portion of it, with another carrier. A carrier can add one or many leased networks to their proprietary network.

A carrier can also share its network with a third-party insurance administrator, also known as an aggregator. Aggregators don’t own the insurance plans or pay claims. Instead, as the name suggests, aggregators lease networks from several carriers and offer participation to dentists for a fee.

Carriers profit from these arrangements by charging access fees for using their network. They may also profit from shared claim savings, which is an agreed-upon amount paid by an aggregator or carrier to the carrier whose dentist was visited to provide a service.

Leasing networks offers carriers several benefits. It allows them to expand into areas where they don’t have a network presence. It enables them to claim that they’ve increased their network size, which they can use to gain an advantage in the marketplace. And they stand to profit from access fees and shared saving.

However, these advantages for the carrier can mean disadvantages for your clients.

The downside of leased networks

Access fees

While carriers may benefit from access fees, your clients won’t. Carriers who lease networks often pass the cost of access fees on to your self-funded clients by withholding claims savings. These fees can also differ from network to network.

We never charge access fees, so you can be sure your clients will get the full savings they’re entitled to.

Network size questions

Carriers that lease networks may claim that their network is “large.” But for these carriers, exactly how large can be a tough question to answer. Why? Carriers who lease networks usually have no direct contact with dentists. And since they may lease multiple networks, keeping track of dentists who leave a network, retire or fail credentialing can be a challenge. 

We update our dentist directory daily, so you know it’s accurate. And since we have relationships with our dentists, turnover is low.

Network lease timing

When your clients choose a carrier, they’re locked in for the term of their plan contract. But that contract may not correspond to the carrier network’s lease agreements. Carrier-to-carrier leasing contracts are negotiable and can be terminated at any time. This means your clients and their employees might find the dentists they chose and depend on are suddenly no longer in their network. A leased network could lose thousands of dentists overnight.

Since we don’t lease networks, your clients can be confident knowing they can visit the dentists they know and trust.

Increased costs

When leasing contracts change, members’ expenses can increase. With renegotiated fees under a new lease, members may not realize their out-of-pocket costs are higher than expected until claims are processed. And these changes can happen at any time.

Inconsistent fees and billing

When a carrier leases several different dental networks, it can result in several different fee schedules, which can lead to inconsistent costs. Dentists may also be confused about how to bill enrollees, which could potentially increase the time it takes to process claims or even lead to incorrect billing. And since the leased networks are owned by different carriers, resolving any billing disputes may be difficult.

Our networks offer predictable, consistent fees and uniform billing and processing.

Quality concerns

Quality of care matters to patients and employers. But when a carrier leases multiple networks, this is difficult to guarantee. Since carriers have no relationship with the dentists in the networks they lease and contractual obligations around quality standards vary, they may not be able to confirm that these dentists’ treatment plans, safety measures and office cleanliness meet acceptable standards, nor can they guarantee that these dentists are properly credentialed.

At Delta Dental, we contract directly, maintain strong relationships and hold our dentists to high standards.


The promise of a carrier with a leased network may seem appealing, but that promise doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. With Delta Dental, you can be sure that you’ll get the network, quality and consistency that you — and your clients — can count on.

How Delta Dental networks ensure quality care

With Delta Dental, your clients can rely on comprehensive, high-quality oral health care. Why? One of the reasons is that we’ve built the largest dentist network in the country to ensure that your clients can always find a quality dentist they trust while enjoying substantial in-network savings. But that’s not the only advantage our network offers your clients.

Objective ratings help your clients select a dentist

For your clients to take full advantage of their dental benefits, they need to feel confident in choosing a dentist who meets their unique needs. To help, we’ve tried to take the guesswork out of finding great dental care.

That’s why our online dentist directory features quality ratings for Delta Dental PPO™, Delta Dental Premier® and select DeltaCare® USA dentists within our 15 enterprise states and the District of Columbia. Developed by a neutral third party, DentaQual ratings evaluate dentists on these criteria:

  • Procedure success rate measures treatment success rate, including the likelihood of repeat procedures and post-treatment problems.
  • Commitment to best practices evaluates how well a dentist follows established standards and treatment methods.
  • Value compares the type and number of prescribed treatments and the average cost per patient.
  • Patient retention compares the degree of patient retention and loyalty.
  • Treatment recommendations compares how a dentist recommends treatment in comparison to dentists in their geographic area and specialty.

DentaQual compares each dentist’s scores to the average scores of their peers to generate an overall rating. And DentaQual automatically refreshes scores each month, so your clients will know that their dentist’s rating is always current.

Member input makes our network stronger

Our members’ opinions matter to us. That’s why we pair DentaQual ratings with Yelp ratings from actual patients to give members an extra level of confidence when choosing a dentist. We even ask our members to recommend great dentists who aren’t in our network so that we can ask them to join. 

Member satisfaction was our main objective in creating our network. In fact, in 2020, 98% of our members said they were satisfied with their dentist and the quality of the care they received.

A proprietary dentist networks offers your clients unique advantages

Unlike some other carriers who lease their networks, we’ve built our own. Of course, you might ask yourself why the network matters as long as your clients have access to dental care. It’s because your clients will enjoy several distinct advantages with Delta Dental’s networks versus a leased network:

  • Quality. We have direct contracts and relationships with our dentists and hold each to consistently high standards. In a leased network, carriers may not have relationship with dentists, and dentist credentialing may be inconsistent.
  • Size. You can count on our network size to be accurate ― we update our directory daily ― and since we have relationships with our dentists, turnover is low. Carriers with leased networks may not know exactly how many dentists their networks contain, and if the carrier’s network lease ends before your contract does, some of your clients could find themselves without an in-network dentist.
  • Value. Our networks offer predictable, consistent fees. Leased networks may not be able to make that promise. And we never charge for network access, unlike some carriers with leased networks that withhold claims saving to cover access fees.

The largest network in the nation means your clients save

A large network means it’s easy for your clients to stay in network, which translates to lower costs. And when it comes to a large network, we lead the competition. Our Delta Dental Premier network is the largest in the nation, based on total unique dentists, according to Zelis Network360’s September 2021 report.

Why is counting unique dentists important? Because it sets us apart from carriers that count access points instead. Access points represent the number of network dentists at each dental office where patients are treated. This means a single dentist who treats patients at several offices could be counted multiple times, which may not represent the actual number of individual dentists in the network. 


With Delta Dental, you can rest assured that your clients will receive quality care. Delta Dental’s robust, nationwide networks offer quality assurance, savings, simplicity and choice.

3 reasons customers are seeking dental insurance now

The pandemic has changed how we work, how we interact and even how we think about our health and safety. As consumer attitudes toward oral health have changed, dental insurance has become more important than ever. Here are some of the reasons that employers and individuals alike are seeking out dental benefits in 2022 and how you can help meet the new demand.

1. Competitive benefits help employers combat the Great Resignation

The pandemic has triggered an exodus from the workforce that economists have labeled the “Great Resignation.” One of the top reasons employees are giving for leaving a position is lack of adequate benefits. 

As the pandemic reshapes the labor market, companies must rethink and retool their benefit offerings to attract and retain talent. About 37% of employees in a recent survey said they value stronger benefits over additional salaries or bonuses, and they consistently rank dental insurance as one of the most important benefits in making a job decision.

Employers who offer dental insurance want a plan that stands out. With Delta Dental, you can help your group clients create plans with the attractive added benefits that employees are seeking now, like maximum waivers for diagnostic and preventive services and coverage for popular but costly services like implants and orthodontics.

2. Dental health needs have grown

The pandemic has also had a direct effect on oral health, creating another reminder of the value of dental insurance. A 2021 survey conducted by the American Dental Association showed a major increase, up to 71%, in stress-related oral health conditions during the pandemic, and more than a quarter of the dentists surveyed reported an increase in cavities and gum disease, as well.

Even in the midst of the pandemic, those with insurance remained more likely to visit the dentist than those without, thereby increasing the likelihood for positive health outcomes when faced with these new challenges.

Companies are seeking to bulk up their benefits to attract and retain employees, and workers are likewise seeking strong dental packages to handle the health issues arising due to the pandemic. Match clients with the dental coverage they’re looking for with Delta Dental PPO™ and DeltaCare® USA plans, which can meet these new demands and reduce the chances for serious (and expensive) health issues down the line.

3. Patients value teledentistry as an option

Fear of returning to the dentist caused teledentistry to boom during the pandemic, with more patients using the technology than ever before. For instance, Delta Dental’s synchronous and asynchronous teledentistry claims in 2021 were six times and two times higher than 2019 levels, respectively.

Many consumers grew accustomed to using teledentistry during the pandemic, and they want to have it as an option moving forward for its safety and convenience. Satisfaction levels with teledentistry services during the COVID-19 pandemic were 100% in the satisfied and very satisfied categories, according to one recent study, and 96% of participating patients in another study said they would use the service again.

When your clients are covered under a Delta Dental PPO or Delta Dental Premier plan, they have two options for free-to-access, easy-to-use teledentistry platforms:

  • Virtual Consult. Offers patients a consultation with a Delta Dental dentist about dental issues over live video.
  • Toothpic. Offers patients a format to submit photos to receive personalized treatment recommendations from a Delta Dental dentist within 24 hours.

And with Delta Dental, members can still see a dentist in person after choosing a virtual dentistry appointment.

Reminding clients of the convenience, popularity and safety of teledentistry can help make a comprehensive dental insurance package that much more attractive. Delta Dental plans give you access to the technology that your clients want now.

Your clients need dental benefits in a post-pandemic world

The pandemic has changed some of Americans’ central attitudes toward dental benefits. Employers are looking to add or increase benefits, and individuals have started to realize the long-term advantages of maintaining their oral health through robust coverage.

With Delta Dental, you can help your clients find affordable, highly rated coverage and a large network of experienced providers. Check out Delta Dental’s wealth of sales resources, and be sure to talk to your group and individual clients about the importance of dental insurance to help them select a Delta Dental plan that can support their overall needs.

Upcoming webinars for individual plan brokers

Selling to individual clients can be trickier than selling to groups, but you don’t have to go it alone. Over the next few months, you’ll be able to attend a series of webinars that will cover topics that will help you excel.

Plans overview: February 22, 2022, 10 am PT / 1 pm ET

What’s the difference between Delta Dental PPO™ and DeltaCare® USA? How can you explain these plans to first-time insurance buyers? In this webinar, you’ll learn the following:

  • Details about Delta Dental’s individual plans
  • Plan perks and features
  • Resources and support available for you and your clients

Register for plans overview webinar

Member resources: Coming in March

From online accounts to the value-added features that come with Delta Dental plans, this webinar will show you the resources available to Delta Dental members and how your clients can make the most of them.

Marketing yourself: Coming in April

Succeeding as a broker requires putting yourself out there, but you also need to make sure you’re getting the credit you deserve for your hard work. This webinar has tips and tricks on how to market yourself and advice on how to use your unique broker link to maximize your commissions.

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