Broker blog from Delta Dental

Tag: wellness (Page 1 of 2)

How Delta Dental’s expanded pregnancy benefits help protect women’s health

Pregnancy brings about unique physiological changes in a woman’s body, some of which can adversely affect oral health. That’s why Delta Dental offers an enhanced pregnancy benefit to help protect women’s oral and overall health during this crucial time.

Why do pregnant women need additional oral health care?

During pregnancy, several conditions are more common, including:

  •  Gingivitis and gum disease. Changes in hormones during pregnancy can help gingivitis-causing bacteria to grow. This can mean red and bleeding gums and an increased chance of developing gum disease. It’s estimated that nearly 60 to 75% of pregnant women have gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease.
  • Tooth decay and cavities. Increased acidity in the oral cavity, alteration in diet and other physiological changes brought on by pregnancy can increase the risk of tooth decay.
  • Pyogenic granulomas. Also called pregnancy granulomas or “pregnancy tumors,” these small, inflamed nodes of tissue on the gumline affect the mouth of between 2 and 10% of expectant mothers.

Unfortunately, poor oral health during a pregnancy is, in turn, associated with a greater risk for poor outcomes during childbirth, including preterm birth and low birth weight. Clearly, maintaining good oral health is crucial during pregnancy.

What’s covered by Delta Dental’s enhanced pregnancy benefit?

Keeping teeth and gums clean is of utmost importance, so additional services are covered for women during pregnancy as follows:

  • One additional exam AND
  • One additional routine cleaning or gum care

How do members use the benefit?

Pregnant women can simply inform their dentist that they’re pregnant in order to be covered for the additional services. The dentist then submits a claim along with written confirmation of pregnancy for the additional benefits to be applied.

Which plans include the enhanced pregnancy benefit?

The enhanced pregnancy benefit is included with group Delta Dental PPO™ and Delta Dental Premier® plans and with individual Basic and Premium PPO plans. At this time, the enhanced benefit is not available to add to DeltaCare® USA plans. To confirm coverage for a client, review the contract for details.

Keeping clients safe through enhanced pregnancy benefits

Make sure your individual and group clients are aware of the importance of taking care of their oral health during pregnancy and remind them how Delta Dental’s enhanced pregnancy benefit can help protect expectant mothers.

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.

Gum disease and the overall health connection

When people want to improve their health, they often focus on improving their diet, starting an exercise program or quitting bad habits like smoking.

However, few people realize that their gums are also a crucial part of their overall well-being. Many serious health conditions have been linked to gum disease. It’s clear that oral health is integral to overall health. This February for Gum Disease Awareness Month, learn how Delta Dental coverage can support your clients’ gum health and their overall wellness.

The connection between gum disease and overall health

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a common bacterial infection that causes a chronic inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissue. It’s the major cause of adult tooth loss, and it affects nearly half of people over 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The effects of gum disease extend well beyond the mouth. Gum disease has been linked to a number of serious health conditions, including:

  • Heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Inflammation from bacteria in the gums may eventually lead to narrowing of arteries and heart trouble.
  • Dementia. Chronic gum inflammation can be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease later in life.
  • Glaucoma. Tooth loss and gum disease may increase the risk of this disease of the optic nerve.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis. The bacterium that causes periodontal disease may increase the severity of rheumatoid arthritis, lead to an earlier onset of the disease and cause symptoms to progress more quickly.
  • Diabetes. People with diabetes are at increased risk of developing gum disease. In turn, having gum disease can make your blood glucose harder to control.
  • Premature birth and low birth weight. Pregnant women are at increased risk of gum disease due to hormonal changes and increased blood flow. Gum disease is associated with an increased risk of preterm birth, as well as low birth weight and other pregnancy complications.

Preventing gum disease and treating the condition early can reduce health costs, dental treatments and medical expenses in the long term.

How Delta Dental coverage can support gum health

Delta Dental offers coverage that can help your group and individual clients avoid the onset and development of gum disease. Routine dental checkups and cleanings, covered by all Delta Dental plans as diagnostic and preventive services, can help prevent and monitor gum disease.

Treatments for gum disease, such as scaling and root planing, are typically covered under most dental plans under periodontic services. Following a scaling and root planing, a patient with gum disease may receive specialized deep cleanings for periodontal maintenance. This procedure, likewise covered under most plans, can minimize the recurrence or progression of gum disease.

However, when non-surgical treatment is inadequate, Delta Dental’s standard plans offer several surgical treatments to slow down or prevent the progression of the disease. Common procedures include:

  • Gingivectomy. Diseased gum tissue is removed and reshaped to get rid of pockets between the teeth and gums.
  • Gingival flap surgery. Gum tissue is separated from surrounding teeth and deflected back to allow a dental surgeon access to the jawbone and the root of the tooth for deep scaling and root planning.
  • Osseous surgery. Also called pocket reduction surgery, this procedure eliminates the bacteria populating the pockets by cutting the gums to remove the bacteria and repair the damaged bone.
  • Bone grafting. This procedure increases the amount of bone in a part of the jaw where bone has been lost or where additional support is needed. Bone may be taken from elsewhere in the body and surgically fused to existing bone in the jaw.

In addition, your group clients can opt in to SmileWay® Wellness Benefits which offer expanded coverage for gum treatment for members with chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis and stroke.

Everyone deserves healthy gums. Be sure to talk to your group and individual clients about the importance of gum health and how to select a Delta Dental plan that can support their overall health needs.

Sealants: Simple procedure, big value

Children’s Dental Health Month in February is a great reminder of how crucial it is to start young people early on the right path for a lifetime of oral health. Parents naturally seek out the best for their kids, so a simple benefit like sealants that can help protect children’s teeth adds value to an insurance plan. Here’s a closer look at the market for sealants and what kind of coverage Delta Dental offers for groups and individuals.

What are sealants?

Sealants are plastic coverings applied to the deep crevices of teeth to seal them off from decay. Think of them like raincoats for the teeth. Sealants are most often applied to permanent back teeth because they have the deepest grooves and are at the highest risk of decay.

How effective are sealants?

Once applied, sealants provide protection against tooth decay, preventing 80% of cavities for two years and continuing to protect against 50% of cavities for up to four years. Children without sealants have almost three times more first molar cavities than children with sealants.

Who needs sealants?

Children and teenagers ages six to 15 are the best candidates for sealants. Sealants can be especially beneficial for kids who have a history of cavities or are otherwise at high risk for dental problems (such as from secondhand smoke or from medications that cause dry mouth).

Why sealant coverage is such an important benefit

Sealants aren’t just effective; they’re also cost-effective. Sealants can spare families the hassle, discomfort and expense of cavities, and unlike most cavity treatments, sealant application is a simple, one-time, painless procedure.

The prevalence of sealants has increased overall in children ages six to 11, from 31% during 1999–2004 to 42% during 2011–2016. Knowing about and having access to sealants through dental coverage can provide parents and their kids with a health advantage that pays off for a lifetime.

Delta Dental offers sealant coverage for groups and individuals

Most Delta Dental plans cover dental sealants, so members can often get all their kids’ protective sealants at little or no out-of-pocket cost.

  • Sealants are a standard benefit in group Delta Dental PPO™ plans, and an age limitation typically applies.
  • All standard DeltaCare® USA plans cover sealants.
  • For individual plans, both Delta Dental PPO and DeltaCare USA include sealant coverage:
    • The Basic Plan and Premium Plan cover sealants at 100% after members reach their deductible.
    • DeltaCare USA individual plans cover sealants with a low copayment.

Plans that include sealants generally limit the benefit to permanent first and second molars subject to age limitations by contract. Under some Delta Dental PPO plans, there is a maximum allowance payable per tooth, and the patient is responsible for the remainder of the allowed fee. Benefits for sealants include repair or replacement within 24 months by the same dentist or dental office.

Sealants are noninvasive, cost-effective players in the fight against cavities. With Delta Dental, you can help your clients find affordable, highly rated sealant coverage.

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.


  • 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.

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