Broker blog from Delta Dental

Tag: technology

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.

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.

The 5 New Year’s resolutions brokers should make for 2022

The past year has been anything but predictable, and the new one promises to be just as turbulent. But setting goals can make all the difference between a productive year and a chaotic one. It’s the perfect time to look back and reflect on the ups and downs of the previous year, and also to make a plan for moving forward.

You may already have some personal New Year’s resolutions in mind for 2022, but why not include some professional ones, as well? Here are our ideas for the top resolutions to make for 2022.

Update your look

Stay-at-home orders and social distancing may leave you feeling a little sluggish and idle, but the outward-facing appearance of your business can’t sit stagnant at this time.

If anything, your digital presence — whether that involves your website, your logo, your presentation slides, your social media, your email signature — is going to be the first impression many people have of you this coming year. You want to be sure that’s a good one.

In 2022, resolve to take a closer look at:

  • Your website. While it’s true that not every website needs every bell and whistle imaginable, you also don’t want potential clients to think you’re stuck in 2011. Start by making sure your business site is clean, professional, up to date and easy to navigate, and if it’s not, resolve to fix it in 2022.
  • Your emails. Make sure any email signatures and avatars are up to date and truly represent you and your business. Brush up on email etiquette (we especially like the 10 golden rules of work email), and be sure your business is following up promptly and politely, even with leads that don’t seem imminently exciting.
  • Your presentations and virtual booths. To improve your appearance, also think about how to create better presentations for clients. Consider creating tailored presentations for each client to add a more personalized touch to the health insurance quoting process. Content is important, but looks matter, too! Make sure your presentation slides have a sleek, engaging, unified and professional look, as do any virtual booths for big events.
  • Your social media. With social media, aim for quality not quantity to attract more user engagement. Be creative and conversational. If you’re at a loss for what will interest people, think of the type of content you most enjoy reading and start from there. Make sure your various profile pages are up to date and that they represent you and your business well.

Seek safe ways to step out of the silo

Whether with clients, potential clients or employees, your face-to-face interactions with others likely had to drop to almost nil in 2020 and 2021. But once these meetings were no longer possible, you probably also began to realize how important these interactions could be. Sales is a tough job that constantly requires re-direction and realignment, and these often take shape through personal interaction.

Consider some safe ways to step briefly out of your digital silo in 2022. Consider planning a small outdoor coffee klatch in a spot where everyone feels safe and comfortable. If you have a longtime client in your area, consider planning a walking meeting in a local park to catch up with your contact. Deployed with the utmost care, a few ”safety first” interpersonal interactions could help make a difference in 2022.

Read more

After a long day in front of the screen, it’s tempting to relax by, well, staying in front of the screen, either surfing the internet or diving in to the latest bingeable TV series. But reading a book every now and then can truly help you relax. And the right book could even help with your sales.

If you feel you don’t have time to read, you can always find good titles at sites like Audible.com. The books download to your smartphone, and you can learn more about insurance sales and marketing while you drive, exercise or do yardwork.

Don’t be afraid to follow your own interests and read to fill the gaps in your own knowledge.

To get you started in 2022, consider picking up these new titles:

Prepare early for open enrollment

Open enrollment is a busy time, but it’s one you can prepare for. Make your resolution this New Year’s to prepare early for open enrollment, so that the crazy time of year will feel a lot less hectic in 2022.

As much as possible, make sure emails, websites, presentations and flyers are up-to-date and accurate well before the season begins. You may also find Delta Dental’s resource page for open enrollment helpful in preparing for the busiest time of year.

You yourself are the best source of knowledge about how to prepare. This new year’s, think carefully about the successes and shortcomings of the open enrollment season in 2021. Make a list of what you could have done better and make the resolution to improve any problem areas through better preparation.

Relax

Don’t forget to take some time for self-care in 2022! In this “new normal,” it’s easy to get wrapped up in work and to forget that pacing yourself is actually one of the most crucial aspects of productivity.

If travel isn’t possible, consider taking a staycation this year, using the time to do some fun (and safe!) activities in your own area, such as local hikes or an outdoor concert in warmer weather.

And don’t forget the little daily things, like a tea break in the afternoon or a walk around the block after work, that can really help you de-stress.

Resolve to get a healthy dose of relaxation in 2022, and you’re bound to have a more balanced and productive year.

Introducing the updated Delta Dental Mobile App

Delta Dental has relaunched its free mobile application. The updated Delta Dental Mobile App is faster and more stable and offers useful features such as member ID cards, the Find a Dentist tool and a cost estimator. The new app is available for both iOS and Android devices.

The current app will be disabled after December 19, 2021. For a seamless user experience, Delta Dental members who have the app installed should first download the updated app from the App Store or Google Play and then remove the current app from their device.

Saved dentists and dependent information will be automatically transferred to the new app, and members can use their current username and password to access it.

The Delta Dental Mobile App uses the latest security technology to protect users’ personal health information. No personal health information is ever stored on your device. For more details on security, view our Privacy Policy in the app menu.

For questions about the app, or if you having trouble logging in, contact Delta Dental Plans Association.

The intelligent future of dental insurance

First, let’s set the record straight: Artificial intelligence, or AI, in the dental industry doesn’t mean your dentist will be replaced by a robot. (Although, yes, a robot dentist might be kind of awesome.)

Instead, for both dentists and insurance companies, AI technology will bring accuracy, consistency and efficiency to a new level. And the good news is that this futuristic technology is here now.

What is artificial intelligence, anyway?

While the technology is complicated, the idea behind it is simple: AI uses computer software to analyze large sets of information and find patterns in them. As it gathers more and more information, it gradually learns to assess situations and then make informed decisions or predict outcomes.

So what does artificial intelligence mean for the dental industry?

When a patient visits the dentist for to receive treatment for a dental issue, two things must occur. First, the dentist must determine the appropriate procedure and submit a claim to the insurance company. Second, the insurance company must determine whether the dentist’s claim is valid and the procedure will be covered.

For both dentists and insurers, inconsistency and disagreements during this process can cause frustration and delays, which can in turn lead to frustration and delays in treatment for your clients.

Here’s how AI can help.

AI can make quick, impartial decisions

In many cases, AI can analyze data far more quickly and accurately than a person can, and can act as a second opinion. One of the most promising applications for AI is analyzing oral imagery, or as they’re more commonly known, x‑rays.

“When dentists make diagnostic decisions, there are clear-cut rules,” said Dr. Daniel Croley, Delta Dental’s chief dental officer. “There are clinical rules that say, ‘This is decay,’ or ‘This is periodontal disease.’ However, that’s also open to some interpretation, and dentists have different levels of aggression when they want to treat disease.”

AI analyzes x‑rays to bring consistency and reliability to decision making, Croley said.

AI can help eliminate fraud

Certainly, most dentists are ethical and want to provide only appropriate treatment for their patients. Still, insurers have to watch out for those few bad actors who abuse the system to help ensure dental care remains safe, effective, available and affordable for your clients.

For questionable claims, insurance companies have teams of dentists available to review claims and the accompanying x‑rays for fraud. But the volume of claims insurers receive (Delta Dental processed more than 34 million claims in 2020), makes manually reviewing every claim for fraud impossible.

AI can help dramatically expand insurers’ ability to detect fraud. By being able to examine and compare thousands of x‑rays, AI can quickly detect abuse such as resubmission fraud, where a dentist uses the same x‑ray to submit multiple claims, and overdiagnosis. (It can also identify honest errors, such as when a dentist mistakenly submits the wrong image.)

Because AI can retain vast amounts of information and compare it instantly, Croley said, it can identify potential fraud much more easily than a person can.

“It will be able to not only to review reports like we do to determine how a certain procedure was done,” Croley said, “but it can also look at the x‑ray that was submitted with it and say, ‘Hey, this was submitted last year for another patient.’ AI will be able to recognize that and learn as it as it goes along.”

It’s for this reason that Croley believes fraud detection is emerging as one of the leading uses for AI in dentistry right now.

This ability to detect fraud quickly and accurately is a win for everyone. It protects insurance companies from dishonest dentists and conversely ensures that ethical dentists are treated fairly by insurers when they submit claims. This trust and efficiency will in turn inspire confidence for your clients.

“We only want to have quality dentists and dentists who deliver quality care in our network,” Croley said. “What AI will help us do is to monitor our network very closely, develop appropriate oversight plans and then take action when necessary. And I think how that manifests for our members is more confidence in the dentists that are endorsed by Delta Dental as network providers.”

The future for AI in dental insurance looks bright

AI is still an emerging and evolving technology, so its full promise hasn’t been realized, and there are still challenges that must be overcome. For instance, many states require a licensed dentist to be involved in any review of a dental claim.

“There’s still a lot of rules around benefit determination at the state level,” Croley said, “but once regulation starts to keep up with the technology, we may see some of that evolve from a regulatory standpoint.”

Still, Croley is optimistic about AI’s potential and what it will mean for your clients. He believes AI will enable Delta Dental to improve the quality of treatment that its dentists deliver and members receive. This in turn will increase members’ confidence in Delta Dental.

“This is what I’m excited about,” Croley said.” People trust us to do the right thing, and AI will enhance the level of trust that they have with us.”

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