Insider Update

Broker blog from Delta Dental

Page 2 of 24

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.


Take the mystery out of dental expenses with the Cost Estimator

Your group clients’ members are busy enough, so trying to figure out how to budget their dental care shouldn’t become a second job. That’s why we created the Cost Estimator, a tool available for desktop and mobile that members can use to estimate quickly and easily what their next dental visit will cost.

What’s more, the Cost Estimator has just been refreshed with a new, accessible and mobile-optimized design.

How can the Cost Estimator can help members?

The Cost Estimator provides members with a personalized estimate (based on the fee schedule from the last dentist from whom they received service) for an entire dental visit with a specific dentist. It calculates members’ out-of-pocket costs based on their current benefits. Information is updated daily, so members can always count on getting an accurate cost estimate.

This versatile and easy-to-use tool offers members a variety of useful features and information to help them make the most of their benefits and helps them become better informed consumers.

In the tool, clients can choose from a list of common dental procedures ― they can even specify which tooth needs treatment or what type of filling they’d prefer! After they select their procedure, the Cost Estimator calculates their estimated out-of-pocket cost. The tool subtracts both the network savings and the portion the plan pays.

Other tasks your clients can perform with the Cost Estimator include:

  • Adding procedures. If clients need to add services such as a cleaning or x‑rays to their visit, they can add them to their estimate to get the total cost of the visit.
  • Comparing dentists. Clients might be curious to see if they’d save by switching to another dentist. The Cost Estimator lets them compare up to five in-network dentists to find the best deal.
  • Selecting plan members. Clients can get cost estimates for anyone on their plan, such as spouses and children.
  • Reviewing benefits usage. Clients can access the benefits activity and history for everyone on their plan, and can also review their plan’s maximums, deductibles and out-of-pocket limits.

How can the Cost Estimator help my group clients’ bottom line?

The Cost Estimator provides members with transparency about their out-of-pocket costs. More cost transparency can mean fewer questions and less confusion about the value of visiting an in-network dentist. By showing the substantial cost differences between in-network and out-of-network dentist visits, the tool encourages in-network utilization — which can help members save and may help lower group dental plan costs.

Which clients can use the Cost Estimator?

All Delta Dental PPO™ and Delta Dental Premier® groups are eligible to sign up for the Cost Estimator. DeltaCare® USA members receive a plan booklet with their copayments for covered services, so this tool isn’t necessary for DeltaCare USA plans.

If you have group clients that haven’t taken advantage of the Cost Estimator, explain to them the cost-saving benefits of this tool. For details, talk to your Sales representative about how your clients can add this service to their plan.

How do members access Cost Estimator?

To use the Cost Estimator, members simply click Plan ahead for a visit from the member portal. PPO and Premier members can also access a more limited version of the Cost Estimator through the Delta Dental mobile app, which details in- and out-of-network fees.


With the Cost Estimator, your clients can be confident that their members are not only about staying within their budgets, but also that they’re getting the best deal for themselves and their families. Be sure your group clients don’t miss out on this valuable resource.

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.

Making the move to Delta Dental: how onboarding works

When you’re helping your group clients select a dental benefits provider, there may be some hesitance to switch carriers. The different systems, migrating all the data, determining the benefits — it’s a lot of work. 

That’s why onboarding is so crucial. And Delta Dental has made sure that setting up a new client is as seamless an experience as possible.

When your client joins Delta Dental, an onboarding project manager and a team of experts oversee every aspect of the transition. They capture all the requirements and tasks needed to complete the move and get the system operating, including eligibility and billing and open enrollment.

“We listen to our clients’ needs,” said Account Executive Nora Colorado. “We know what questions to ask so we can design a benefits program that precisely meets their needs.”

The customer onboarding team is experienced in working with many different benefit enrollment systems. In transferring member data to our system, the onboarding team does a complete system validation once the group is set up. Onboarding staff work with the client, receiving numerous test files for review so that when it’s time to flip the switch, the member enrollment transitions flawlessly.

The onboarding project manager gives every client and stakeholder access to a dashboard that provides real-time insight into the timeline, tasks and updates to the onboarding process. Communication is essential in ensuring the success of every customer onboarding.

The process not only works, but it has earned rave reviews from clients who have joined Delta Dental. Last year, 98% of clients surveyed rated the onboard team and process as very good or excellent.

“We’ve done this many times and are comfortable with moving any client,” Colorado said. “Employees are pleased with the benefits they receive, but the move is so smooth they never notice any disruption in services.”

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.

Get ready to brush even smarter

Going to the dentist for regular checkups is important for maintaining oral health, but what can people do at home to keep a bright and healthy smile? BrushSmart is Delta Dental’s free oral wellness program designed to help members power up their at-home oral care. Eligible members receive exclusive discounts and offers from trusted brands that specialize in dental products. This spring, BrushSmart is getting even better with more discounts from new partners.

Oral‑B

BrushSmart members can get a clean that wows with the Oral‑B iO. Oral‑B’s dentist-inspired round brush head removes 100% more plaque than a regular manual toothbrush. Members save $20 off purchases of $100 or more at OralB.com (exclusions apply). 

Philips Sonicare

BrushSmart members can get everything they need for a healthy smile with Philips Sonicare. Members enjoy a 20% discount and free shipping on top-rated Sonicare toothbrushes, power flossers, kid toothbrushes and replacement brush heads.

quip

The quip Smart Electric Toothbrush helps adults and kids track and improve brushing (duration, frequency, coverage, strokes, intensity) with the quip app. Plus, BrushSmart members earn points for rewards like brush heads, gift cards and more. Members can get 25% off and free shipping.

Who’s eligible for BrushSmart?

Members with Delta Dental PPO™ and DeltaCare® USA plans through all lines of business can sign up for BrushSmart. That includes members with individual plans, group plans, Small Business Program plans and more.

How can they get discounts?

Getting discounts is easy! All members need to do is sign up for BrushSmart and discounts will be sent straight to their inbox.

« Older posts Newer posts »

© 2022 Insider Update

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑