Insider Update

Broker blog from Delta Dental

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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 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.

Grin! for Kids: a value-added resource for family dental plans

Edu­cat­ing fam­i­lies about den­tal care in cre­ative ways rais­es prospects for buy-in to a Delta Den­tal plan. The way to engage chil­dren in den­tal care is to give them oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn about tak­ing care of the teeth, gums and mouth so their smiles are healthy.

Grin! for Kids is a col­or­ing and activ­i­ty book with fun, edu­ca­tion­al projects for chil­dren in grades K‑5. It is a free resource that adds val­ue to a Delta Den­tal plan. The book can be print­ed out at home for easy access, as par­ents show chil­dren about pre­ven­tive care in tak­ing advan­tage of plan ben­e­fits.

Each issue of Grin! for Kids, avail­able in Eng­lish and Span­ish, con­tains new ideas and infor­ma­tion that fam­i­lies can share as they main­tain reg­u­lar vis­its to their den­tist under their plan.

Dental care is an important part of overall health

Den­tal health is about more than just den­tal health. As the Sur­geon General’s Report on Oral Health in Amer­i­ca put it: “…oral health is inte­gral to gen­er­al health. You can­not be healthy with­out oral health. Oral health and gen­er­al health should not be inter­pret­ed as sep­a­rate enti­ties.”

Not sur­pris­ing­ly, then, neglect­ing den­tal health can impact more than just teeth and gums. While a com­mon per­cep­tion is that poor den­tal health affects only the mouth, it has also been asso­ci­at­ed with a vari­ety of gen­er­al health con­di­tions.

While there isn’t con­clu­sive evi­dence that poor den­tal health caus­es these con­di­tions, stud­ies have linked cer­tain den­tal con­di­tions, such as peri­odon­tal gum dis­ease, to stroke and bac­te­r­i­al pneu­mo­nia.

The link between poor den­tal health and heart dis­ease is par­tic­u­lar­ly strong. For instance, a study pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Heart Asso­ci­a­tion jour­nal Cir­cu­la­tion sug­gests that gum dis­ease may increase the risk of heart attack by almost 50%. And in the same issue of the jour­nal, it was report­ed that there’s increas­ing evi­dence for an asso­ci­a­tion between gum and heart dis­ease.

For women who are preg­nant, poor oral health may affect not only their health but the health of their babies as well. For instance, a 2016 study found a pos­si­ble link between gum dis­ease and adverse preg­nan­cy out­comes, includ­ing pre­ma­ture deliv­er­ies and babies with low weight at birth.

Oral health issues can also be symp­toms of seri­ous health con­di­tions. For exam­ple, dry mouth, bad breath, gum dis­ease and new or slow-to-heal den­tal infec­tions may indi­cate untreat­ed dia­betes. Patch­es or numb­ness in the mouth, jaw pain or dif­fi­cul­ty chew­ing may sig­nal oral can­cer.

Access to den­tal care, then, is impor­tant not only for main­tain­ing healthy teeth and gums but for main­tain­ing over­all well­ness and ensur­ing that no oth­er, more seri­ous health issues are present.

A key to this access is hav­ing den­tal ben­e­fits. Peo­ple who have den­tal ben­e­fits are not only more like­ly to vis­it the den­tist than peo­ple with­out them, but they’re also more like­ly take their chil­dren to the den­tist, accord­ing to a Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Den­tal Plans (NADP) report. The report also notes that these peo­ple expe­ri­ence greater over­all health than peo­ple with­out den­tal insur­ance.

The cost of skip­ping this care is sig­nif­i­cant. Each dol­lar spent on pre­ven­tive den­tal care can save as much as $50 lat­er on cost­ly restora­tive treat­ments, such as fill­ings and crowns. And each year, $45 bil­lion is lost in pro­duc­tiv­i­ty due to den­tal dis­ease, accord­ing to an esti­mate from the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion.

So when dis­cussing den­tal health, remem­ber — it’s about much more than den­tal health.

Grin! offers clients and their employees a free and fun wellness resource

Encour­age your clients to bright­en their smiles — and their days — with Delta Dental’s fun, infor­ma­tive and free e‑magazine: Grin!

Avail­able in Eng­lish and Span­ish, this quar­ter­ly pub­li­ca­tion is full of use­ful and enter­tain­ing con­tent, such as:

  • The lat­est news on den­tal care — includ­ing what to do dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic
  • Advice from experts
  • First looks at inno­v­a­tive tech­nol­o­gy
  • Fun fea­tures
  • Healthy recipes, and more

And because den­tal health is strong­ly tied to over­all health, Grin! also explores how many chron­ic health con­di­tions, includ­ing heart dis­ease, dia­betes and depres­sion, are relat­ed to den­tal care. In fact, Grin! explains how aller­gies and oral health are relat­ed in the recent sum­mer issue.

See for your­self: Check out the lat­est edi­tion of Grin! here. And it’s easy to sub­scribe. With just one click, your clients and their employ­ees can receive all that Grin! has to offer, four times per year.

Healthy, hap­py employ­ees are the key to a pro­duc­tive work­place, and Grin! can help. Why not offer it your clients today?

And if they do choose to sub­scribe to Grin!, be sure to remind them to down­load this free poster that they can use to pro­mote this great resource to their employ­ees.

Policy pops: How does dental fit into the gig economy?

3‑minute read

Join our guest blog­ger, Devin McBray­er, as she explores the role of den­tal ben­e­fits in the fast-grow­ing gig econ­o­my. Devin is a Leg­isla­tive and Pol­i­cy Ana­lyst based in Sacra­men­to, Cal­i­for­nia.

The large major­i­ty of Amer­i­cans have den­tal ben­e­fits — 77% in fact, accord­ing to the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Den­tal Plans. Most Amer­i­cans receive this cov­er­age through their employ­er or groups like AARP. How­ev­er, the job mar­ket is chang­ing. Each year, more Amer­i­cans are leav­ing tra­di­tion­al work­places to join the gig econ­o­my and be their own boss. This shift could change the land­scape of the ben­e­fits indus­try in the very near future.

Who’s in the gig economy?

Near­ly one quar­ter of Amer­i­cans earn some or all of their income in the gig econ­o­my, Edi­son Research esti­mates. Not sur­pris­ing­ly, a 2019 sur­vey by Bankrate shows that almost half of Mil­len­ni­al work­ers work in the gig econ­o­my in some capac­i­ty. While that’s more than any oth­er gen­er­a­tion, a 2018 Pru­den­tial study notes that Gen X‑ers work the most hours per week in their gig jobs of any gen­er­a­tion and are also more like­ly to rely exclu­sive­ly on gig work for income. Baby boomers tend to use gig work to make extra mon­ey in retire­ment.

Do gig jobs offer dental benefits?

The increas­ing num­ber of Amer­i­cans work­ing odd jobs for TaskRab­bit or dri­ving for Uber may not receive tra­di­tion­al employ­ee ben­e­fits, includ­ing den­tal cov­er­age. That can cause anx­i­ety, when an esti­mat­ed 44% of Amer­i­can gig work­ers rely on the gig econ­o­my as the sole source of their income. Gig work­ers might be able to afford to pur­chase indi­vid­ual den­tal cov­er­age direct­ly from a car­ri­er or through their state’s exchange, but for some, that cov­er­age might be more than they can afford. A 2017 study by Free­lancers Union & Upwork found that over half of free­lancers dipped into their sav­ings each month to make ends meet.

On the oth­er end of the spec­trum, the gig econ­o­my work­ers using their gig to sup­ple­ment their income from a more tra­di­tion­al employ­er may already have den­tal ben­e­fits from their pri­ma­ry job. If not, they may actu­al­ly use the extra cash to pur­chase indi­vid­ual cov­er­age.

What does the trend mean for benefits brokers?

Gig work­ers, espe­cial­ly those who have nev­er had access to employ­er-spon­sored ben­e­fits, may need edu­ca­tion about the val­ue of den­tal cov­er­age. Adults with den­tal ben­e­fits are more like­ly to vis­it the den­tist and seek pre­ven­tive care, accord­ing to the 2017 Delta Den­tal Plans Asso­ci­a­tion, Adult Oral Health and Well-being Sur­vey. Rou­tine den­tal exams can detect health prob­lems ear­ly and low­er the risk for cost­ly con­di­tions down the road like crowns, implants or even oral can­cers.

The rise of the gig econ­o­my could also change the way that den­tal ben­e­fits are sold to this pop­u­la­tion. For work­ers in the gig econ­o­my exclu­sive­ly, indi­vid­ual den­tal plans with com­pet­i­tive cov­er­age and pric­ing will become increas­ing­ly impor­tant. Many gig work­ers use apps like Lyft and Post­mates to earn mon­ey, which may sig­nal that they’re more like­ly to pur­chase insur­ance online and look for plans geared toward tech-savvy con­sumers.

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.

Policy pops: Health care exchanges — 2019 enrollment results

3‑minute read

Join our guest blog­ger, Devin McBray­er, as she reviews the out­comes of the 2019 open enroll­ment peri­od for health care exchanges. Devin is a Leg­isla­tive and Pol­i­cy Ana­lyst based in Sacra­men­to, Cal­i­for­nia.

The open enroll­ment peri­od to pur­chase Afford­able Care Act (ACA)-compliant indi­vid­ual health insur­ance cov­er­age off the health insur­ance exchanges for 2019 has come to an end. Sign-ups were off to a slow start at the begin­ning of the enroll­ment peri­od, leav­ing many experts fear­ful that ACA plans would expe­ri­ence a sig­nif­i­cant decrease in enroll­ment. How­ev­er, total enroll­ment only decreased by about 3.8% nation­wide on, much of this due to a 15% reduc­tion in new sign-ups.

While the total enroll­ment drop in indi­vid­ual health insur­ance plans on the exchange may have been less dras­tic than expect­ed, it is still worth explor­ing why new enroll­ment decreased con­sid­er­ably and why year-to-year enroll­ment con­tin­ues to decline. Sev­er­al 2018 pol­i­cy changes, com­bined with a grow­ing econ­o­my, could help explain the decrease in enroll­ment in ACA plans for the 2019 plan year.

Are policy changes to blame?

In 2018, Con­gress reduced the tax penal­ty for not hav­ing an ACA-com­pli­ant health insur­ance plan to zero, effec­tive­ly elim­i­nat­ing it. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment also short­ened the open enroll­ment peri­od and reduced mar­ket­ing for open enroll­ment. Simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment passed sev­er­al rules that expand­ed the avail­abil­i­ty of cheap­er and less com­pre­hen­sive insur­ance plans such as short-term lim­it­ed dura­tion plans. No tax penal­ty for lack of cov­er­age, com­bined with a short­er sign-up peri­od and more plan options out­side the exchanges, may help explain the enroll­ment decrease.

The impact of the economy

Anoth­er pos­si­ble expla­na­tion for the drop in enroll­ment could be attrib­uted to an improv­ing econ­o­my. When open enroll­ment start­ed on Novem­ber 1, 2018, 2 mil­lion more jobs were added to the econ­o­my than were added at the same time in 2017. As more peo­ple head back to work, it’s pos­si­ble that they’re gain­ing access to employ­er-spon­sored health insur­ance, elim­i­nat­ing the need to renew their ACA plan.

What does this mean for dental?

Any loss in enroll­ment for med­ical cov­er­age also means less peo­ple enrolled in den­tal cov­er­age on the exchange. (As a reminder, den­tal cov­er­age is an essen­tial health ben­e­fit for chil­dren but not for adults.)

In the exchanges, den­tal cov­er­age is includ­ed in some health plans or con­sumers can get a stand-alone den­tal plan and pay a sep­a­rate pre­mi­um. How­ev­er, there is no way for con­sumers to pur­chase a stand-alone den­tal plan with­out also pur­chas­ing a med­ical plan on the health care exchange. Push­ing for states and the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment to allow for the inde­pen­dent pur­chase of stand-alone den­tal plans on state and fed­er­al health insur­ance exchanges is a top pri­or­i­ty for the Pub­lic & Gov­ern­ment Affairs team at Delta Den­tal.

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.

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