Broker blog from Delta Dental

Tag: employee wellness (Page 1 of 2)

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.

Your Dental Health Summary: what you should know

How do you know which dental benefits enrollees actually use and need? The true value of a dental benefit plan can depend on how much members utilize their plan and which benefits they’re using. With Your Dental Health Summary, you can get these insights and more.

How are group members using their dental benefits?

Your Dental Health Summary is a comprehensive report that helps evaluate your clients’ members’ utilization, oral health and risk status. The report highlights a group’s healthy behaviors and helps identify risk factors like the percentage of enrolled members who have had fillings, root canals or gum treatment. Benefits administrators can examine utilization and risk status indicators over time and compare their enrolled member population to benchmarks. Using this data, they can assess whether intervention, education or better patient habits could improve risk status.

What’s in the report?

Your Dental Health Summary includes helpful information, like:

  • Dental benefits utilization, including risk factors and healthy behaviors. See how members compare to benchmarks for taking advantage of diagnostic and preventive services. The report also features health indicators for members at high risk for dental disease, with utilization patterns compared to benchmarks.
  • Oral health risks compared to benchmarks. The report highlights risk categories for the entire group, including new members, high-risk members and members with no dentist visits. You’ll also get a detailed breakdown of each category by age.
  • A group’s oral health progress compared to previous years. Track the progress of high-risk and low-risk members to see how many visited the dentist and whether their oral health has improved or declined.

But what if your clients don’t know much about dental health? Your Dental Health Summary contains a guide to best practices for good oral health and how to support healthy habits. As clients receive information about plan usage, they’ll learn how to help high-risk employees and encourage dentist visits.

How do your clients get the report?

Your Dental Health Summary reports are available for groups with at least 500 primary enrollees. Because the reports track dental health trends over a period of several years, groups must be with Delta Dental for at least two full years before they can receive their first report.

Your clients will receive the report via email from their Sales Account Executive at whatever interval they prefer. The report is generated monthly, but most groups rarely need it more frequently than once per year. We’ll also set up a meeting to walk group administrators through the report and answer any questions.

As a broker, you may receive the report as well, as long as your group clients approve and wish to share.


Making choices about benefits packages can be difficult when your clients don’t have a clear picture of how their employees are using it. With Your Dental Health Summary, they’ll have a tool that gives them tailored and actionable information that helps them plan targeted, effective wellness initiatives.

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.

The role of the broker post-COVID

The pandemic has changed nearly every aspect of American life, and selling insurance is no exception.

Your clients are conducting business differently. Budgets have been cut and many employees continue to work remotely. The benefits landscape has changed as well. Many of your clients’ employees are dealing with new economic realities, so they’re looking at benefit choices differently.

Here are some of the trends that have transformed the role of the benefits broker in the era of COVID.

New ways to connect with clients

Despite the challenges of the past two years, you’ve still worked to connect, engage and build relationships with your clients. While you’ve probably had less interpersonal contact with your clients, their expectations of speed, personalization and convenience have risen, and virtual enrollment has become the norm.

As a result, delivering value to your clients through digital services and compelling experiences can help you thrive in this new environment. For 2022, be sure to check Delta Dental’s marketing resources for a selection of digital resources that can help you communicate with your clients, from individuals and small businesses to larger companies with 100 employees or more. 

Advising clients on benefits that work in the new normal

What your clients and their employees want from their benefits is probably different from what they wanted a few years ago. With a decentralized workforce, flexibility and choice are more valuable than ever, and savvy brokers have kept pace with employees’ interest in new and expanded benefits.

Consider:

  • Ensuring that telehealth, such as Delta Dental’s Virtual Consult, and expanded mental health services are included in health care offerings.
  • Offering benefits and perks that promote employee well-being, including overall wellness, mental health and even financial health. Delta Dental gives enrollees access to attractive value-added features, such as discounts on Amplifon hearing aids and QualSight LASIK eye surgery.
  • Taking on an advisory role to help clients and employees understand what’s available to them and choose the best options.

The number of employers offering voluntary benefits increased 27% during the COVID pandemic. For brokers, this is an opportunity to expand workplace benefits offerings. 

Greater focus on the whole family

Your clients’ employees probably spend more time at home than ever before. Some became caregivers for their parents; others took on educational roles for their children.

Now more than ever, employees are looking for benefits that extend to their family members. A recent survey of employers found that 41% of respondents plan to newly offer or expand senior care benefits to employees, and 63% said they plan to increase their company’s current child care benefits.

Looking ahead

You likely saw your business change in the past few years. But crisis breeds opportunity. Economic challenges offer you the chance to demonstrate the value you bring to your clients and their employees and help them navigate this new world.

Dental care for the deaf and hard-of-hearing

Happy National Deaf History Month! If you haven’t heard of this season, it runs from March 13 to April 15. Nearly 15% of adult Americans report trouble hearing, so your clients may have employees with hearing issues and aren’t even aware of it! Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals face some unique challenges when it comes to getting dental care. Even making an appointment can be difficult. Fortunately, there are solutions available to ensure that no problem is insurmountable. Here are some of the common issues that people who are deaf and hard of hearing can encounter and what Delta Dental does to help solve them.

Challenges and considerations

When it comes to getting quality dental care, challenges can start before people who are deaf and hard of hearing ever set foot in the office.

  • The deaf and hard-of-hearing can have difficulty just making appointments. Not every office will have someone fluent in American Sign Language (ASL) on staff, but if an office isn’t set up to schedule appointments by text or email, it can be impossible for deaf patients to even step foot inside.
  • Dentists that don’t speak clearly, slowly and while looking at members make it hard to read lips. The deaf and hard of hearing may rely more on lip-reading than others. Seeing a dentist who is in a hurry or who talks while moving all about the practice can make it more difficult for the deaf and hard-of-hearing to follow what’s being said. To make things even harder, the fact that everyone is wearing masks because of COVID-19 only compounds this issue.
  • People may not even realize that they’re hard-of-hearing. Because most everyone loses some of their hearing as they get older, the change can happen so gradually that some people aren’t even aware of it. Attentive dentists can notice when their patients seem to have difficulty with hearing them or following a conversation and adjust accordingly.

Solutions and resources

Whether a person has recently become hard of hearing or has been deaf since birth, there are two major tools available to help them.

  • The Language Assistance Program (LAP). The LAP is a free service that Delta Dental members can use to get professional interpretive services for their non-English needs. This includes phone assistance, written materials and more, including an in-person translator when given 72 hours’ notice. Most importantly for deaf patients, this means that they can have an interpreter fluent in ASL accompany them to their dental visits!
  • The Find a Dentist search tool. The Find a Dentist search tool is perfect for members looking to find an in-network dentist that fits their specific needs. Members can search by distance and specialty, but they can also search for dentists by the languages their offices support and available accessibility features, including dentist offices where the staff is fluent in ASL!

More than 35 million people in the United States report having trouble hearing, whether they suffer from mild hearing loss or are completely deaf, so it’s essential for your clients that their dental coverage take this into consideration. Fortunately, valuable services like the Language Assistance Program and thoughtful features like the Find a Dentist search tool make it easier for deaf and hard-of-hearing members to get their dental needs taken care of.

Client considerations for COVID-19 vaccines

The speed and efficacy with which COVID-19 vaccines have been developed is a testament to human ingenuity and the drive to create a safer world for us all. The three vaccines that are widely available in the U.S. (Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson) have all received emergency authorization by the FDA after demonstrating both efficacy and safety, but there are other issues your clients may want to consider when deciding on how to approach a vaccine policy.

What options do employers have?

There are three main courses of action your clients could take when it comes to employees and vaccines:

  • Do nothing. This means choosing not to implement a company-wide vaccine policy and not advocating for and encouraging vaccinations. Doing nothing may not be the optimal choice from a public health perspective, but it’s certainly a valid one from a legal standpoint. Mandating or incentivizing vaccination could help to reduce increased costs or absenteeism from employees, but it can also lead to exposure to legal liability depending on how such policies are implemented (and how litigious employees are).
  • Encourage and incentivize vaccination. This is a gentler approach than outright mandating vaccinations as a condition of continued employment. Encouraging employees to get vaccinated is legally safe, although it may run the risk of upsetting employees who don’t believe in vaccination, who have concerns about vaccine safety, who have health considerations that keep them from getting vaccinated or who simply don’t like feeling pressured when it comes to managing their health. Incentives, such as offering paid time off or a bonus to employees who get vaccinated, must be carefully implemented, however. Aside from the cost considerations that comes with bonuses and incentives, employers may find themselves legally liable for any issues that arise from implementing on-site vaccinations.
  • Mandate vaccination. This is an aggressive option, but it’s certainly the most effective from the point of prioritizing the health and safety of employees. Mandating that employees get vaccinated is generally legal (although it may not be in some states), but it’s possible that some implementations could put your clients at legal risk (for example, setting up on-site vaccinations or inquiring about employees’ personal health to determine their eligibility for vaccination).

Which employees should get vaccinated first?

Until vaccines become more widely available, it’s best to prioritize employees who are most vulnerable to exposure and at greatest risk of complications from COVID-19. Of course, in health care and senior care industries, everyone with regular contact with the ill and elderly should be vaccinated. Outside of these industries, your clients should consider prioritizing:

  • Employees who work in close physical contact
  • Employees who have regular exposure to customers and other members of the public
  • Employees who have regular exposure to heavily trafficked enclosed spaces, food products or other settings where infection may be a risk
  • Employees who are 65 or older
  • Employees who are 16–65 with underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of life-threatening COVID-19 complications

What are the risks of implementing a vaccine policy?

Your clients could get into legal trouble if pre-screening vaccination questions aren’t job-related and consistent with the requirements of their businesses. To avoid this outcome, they should make sure that any pre-screening questions are related to the job and that they can prove that unvaccinated employees pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other employees. Similarly, your clients could get into legal trouble if they attempt to prevent workers’ concerted activity, such as expressing opposition to mandatory vaccines.

Employers should make sure to follow state and local laws, as well. Some locales may have prohibitions against mandating vaccines that more strict than state or federal law.

Setting a policy and moving forward

Before settling on the policy that’s best for their company and their employees, there are a few final things your clients should consider.

  • Make sure to follow all federal, state and local laws. Your clients won’t want to put their organization at risk of legal exposure. It’s best to do some research and stay up-to-date on the latest laws and regulations.
  • Get a sense of how their employees feel. If your clients have employees who feel very strongly about vaccines, either adopting a mandatory policy or doing nothing may cause disquiet. Taking surveys of employee sentiments can be a good way to decide how to craft a message.
  • Identify who should be doing the communication. Figures like respected managers, team leaders and union officials can be excellent ambassadors for company policies, especially in larger organizations where employees may not have personal relationships with upper management.
  • Be transparent. As always, communication is key when it comes to rolling out new policies that can affect employees’ work lives. Your clients should let employees know both what their COVID-19 vaccine policy is and how that position was reached. They should be sure to listen to and address employee concerns, even if the company’s policy remains firm.

Regardless of what policy your clients decide to implement, wearing masks and respecting social distancing will stay important aspects of infection management. Even as vaccines become more readily available, maintaining practices and procedures to minimize the chance of infection and help their entire organization stay healthy is essential.

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