Broker blog from Delta Dental

Category: Insights for selling (Page 1 of 2)

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

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.

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.

Add vision and hearing deals to your dental sales

Delta Dental plans have always been great when it comes to oral health and wellness. With the addition of deals on LASIK eye surgery from QualSight and hearing aids from Amplifon, your clients can get even more value from their plans.

What can QualSight and Amplifon do for you? 

Every Delta Dental enrollee now has access to great deals on hearing aids and LASIK eye surgery from QualSight and Amplifon. This means your clients can get discounts of 40–50% off the average price of traditional LASIK from QualSight’s experienced surgeons. With Amplifon, they get an average of 62% off retail hearing aid pricing, backed by a best price guarantee.

Vision corrective services and Amplifon’s hearing health care services aren’t insured benefits. Delta Dental makes the vision corrective services program and hearing health care services program available to enrollees to provide access to the preferred pricing for these services.

What does this mean for you?

Now the Delta Dental plans you sell come with even more value-added services, with no extra effort on your end. After your clients buy a Delta Dental plan, they can call QualSight and Amplifon directly to take advantage of the discounts. The dedicated representatives from QualSight and Amplifon will walk them through the process, including scheduling appointments and coordinating follow-up care. There’s even a flyer you can print or send to your clients.

Now what?

To learn more about these deals and see your other resources, take a look at your broker resources page or download the brochure. You can also visit QualSight and Amplifon’s pages for Delta Dental enrollees.


Your sale, your broker link, your reward

When selling insurance, getting credit for a sale can be the difference between a nice commission and wasted effort. That’s why we’ve made it easier for you to get credit for online enrollments, no matter where or when your client chooses to enroll.

Broker links credit your effort

Your unique broker link connects your clients to our instant quoting and enrollment flow, automatically crediting you for the sale when they enroll online. Share it with your clients on brochures, emails, websites and the rest of your marketing materials. The more places your clients can see that link, the more likely you are to get credit.

Finding your broker link

To find your broker link, log in to your online account and select the Business Information tab. Then, choose the Links section after your business information. If you don’t have your unique broker link or need more guidance, just email producerservices@delta.org or call 866–760-4080.

More ways to get credit

On the online enrollment application, tell clients to click “Yes” when asked “Are you working with an insurance agent or broker?” Then have them enter your broker number in the Broker Number field.

When your clients are filling out printed applications, remind them to add your Delta Dental information, including your broker number, in the Agent/Producer Information section.

For additional information about selling, commissions, appointment and more, visit our broker resources page.


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.

Freedom to choose and other myths about visiting the dentist

3‑minute read

If you’re taking a consultative approach to selling benefits, you most likely aim to help your clients answer their enrollees’ biting benefits questions. Especially if you work with small business owners, it’s important to brush up on plan details so you’re ready to provide support when necessary.

Health insurance, both medical and dental, can be confusing. Even if enrollees understand plan basics, the details can be tough to understand – and difficult to find. So we’re going to break down three common myths about choosing a dentist, for both Delta Dental PPO™ and DeltaCare® USA plans.

Myth: Enrollees don’t have much choice, if any, in the dentist they visit.

Fact: Not true. In a PPO plan, enrollees and their dependents can visit any licensed dentist and use their plan benefits. (However, they will usually save more when they visit a Delta Dental PPO dentist.)

For DeltaCare USA enrollees, this is a myth as well. Though our copay plans feature a narrower network of dentists to choose from, enrollees have the option to select a dentist from the DeltaCare USA network. If they don’t make a selection, then we will assign them a network dentist near their home address. Enrollees can also change their selected network dentist, and changes will be effective the following month.

With Delta Dental PPO and DeltaCare USA, enrollees may have more freedom to choose their dentist than you think.

Myth: Enrollees must present an ID card when they visit the dentist.

Fact: Regardless of plan type, this is not a requirement. Enrollees can simply provide the dentist with their name, date of birth and social security number or enrollee ID to verify coverage. Or they can display ID cards from their mobile device by logging in to Online Services on deltadentalins.com.

We could all benefit from going green, so encourage enrollees to take their ID cards on the go.

Myth: Enrollees need to submit claim forms for each dentist visit.

Fact: Convenience is a major advantage of visiting a network dentist. For our PPO and copay plans, enrollees do not need to file claims when they visit a dentist in their network for routine dental care. Enrollees simply visit their dentist, pay their set copayment or share of coinsurance and leave with a healthier smile.

Claim forms may apply for out-of-network, specialty and emergency care, or to get a pre-treatment estimate.


For a quick guide to answering enrollees’ benefit questions, direct your clients to our resources for benefits administrators online.

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.

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