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Wise Tips in Choosing Dental Insurance for Small Business Owners

Offering dental insurance is one of the best ways to attract and retain top talent. However, it can take time to determine which plan options are the right fit for your business.

Understand how PPO, HMO, and indemnity plans work. Also, look for in-network care providers and annual maximums and deductibles.

Know Your Needs

Offering group dental and vision insurance is one of the most cost-effective ways to show your employees that you care about them and want them to be healthy. While these benefits usually don’t carry the same weight as medical or life insurance, they still play a significant role in recruiting and retaining talented employees.

Knowing your needs is key when choosing small business dental insurance. The right dental coverage will help your employees keep their teeth healthy and improve their overall health, which can lower their medical costs. In addition, healthy employees are more productive and take less time off work due to aches and pains.

A comprehensive dental plan will cover preventive services and treatment of identified issues. It will also allow for a flexible schedule of visits to the dentist for exams, cleanings, and other procedures. It’s important to know what each plan covers, including the frequency of visits, co-payments, and annual maximums. Consider a self-insured dental plan, which can cost your company less than insured plans because you assume some financial risks.

Another factor to consider is the size of a plan’s network and how it’s determined. The more extensive a network is, the more cost savings you will get for your employees when they visit in-network providers. Ask your broker to explain how networks are determined for each plan.

Know Your Budget

All purchase decisions have a cost versus value analysis; providing your employees dental insurance is no exception. Dental insurance is generally less expensive than medical insurance. Still, it isn’t free, and you must be mindful of your business’s bottom line when determining the best plan options for your company.

Small-group dental plans typically provide basic coverage limited to preventative services like dental exams and cleanings. In contrast, comprehensive dental plans cover more extensive restorative care, such as fillings and crowns. Understanding the unique dental needs of your employees is essential, as is gathering insights from them through surveys or discussions.

When evaluating your plan options, understand the costs involved, including premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and coinsurance. Knowing how your company can contribute toward employee premiums and evaluating whether these costs align with your budget is also helpful.

Many companies pay for all or part of their employees’ premiums in a model known as contributory. Other businesses can offer partially paid or fully paid dental insurance. When choosing a provider, consider their reputation for customer satisfaction and financial stability, as well as their network size and provider quality.

Be wary of any carrier that offers overly optimistic projections of claim costs, as these savings may be achieved by reducing benefits or increasing out-of-pocket expenses for employees.

Ask Questions

Adding dental and vision coverage to your employees’ benefits package can make a huge difference in recruiting and retaining top talent. When selecting a plan, you must ask questions of both your broker and the carrier. For example, if a rate looks too good to be true, find out whether it’s driven by deeper provider discounts or reduced coverage for your employees.

Also, find out if the plan covers new treatments and technology. The best plans are forward-thinking, embracing advances in dental care, and providing your employees with valuable tools and support to help them stay healthy. For instance, look for a plan that covers composite “white” fillings and sealants and offers comprehensive service for implants.

Read the Fine Print

When deciding what type of dental insurance plan to offer employees, it is essential to know all the options. While preventive services are almost always 100% covered, employees may be responsible for a percentage of other procedures, such as fillings and root canals. Knowing these nuances can help small business owners choose the right plan for their business needs.

Most traditional dental insurance plans have a network, coinsurance costs, and deductibles. These can confuse many people but are necessary to ensure that the company and its employees get the best value. For example, a “UCR” or Usual, Customary, and Reasonable fee structure typically covers a certain percentage of the set amount providers charge for a service (such as tooth bridges). When an employee visits an in-network provider, they will pay the set amount of the MAC, and the insurer will cover the remaining cost.

In contrast, Dental Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans have large networks of providers and usually cover 80% of primary care, such as fillings, and 50% of significant considerations, such as crowns. However, they can still require a deductible and annual out-of-pocket maximum. Alternatively, Dental Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans trade lower premiums for limited flexibility. Employees must visit in-network providers, or the procedure will not be covered.

Thomas Leishman

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