Choosing the right dental benefits plan for your employees is always filled with compromises and difficult decisions, no matter if this is the first time you offer a dental plan at your company, or you are just revising the benefits currently provided.
The process becomes even more difficult when you look into the variety of options and types of dental benefits there are today. Here's some information to help simplify the situation:
Types of dental coverage
There are three basic types of dental coverage employers typically offer:
Indemnity plan - These fee-for-service style plans are the most common type. They require employees to pay monthly premiums to the insurance company, which agrees to reimburse dentist offices for the costs of the services provided.
What makes these plans so popular is the freedom that covered individuals have in choosing their dentist. Fee-for-service plans cost more than other plans, but many people are willing to pay more for the ability to select their own practitioner.
Preferred provider organization - PPO dental plans are less expensive than indemnity plans, while still providing a large pool of dentists to choose from. Individuals covered under PPO plans are given the choice of receiving care from any provider within the plan's dentist network or choosing a non-network dentist and paying a little more in out-of-pocket expenses.
Dental health maintenance organization - A DHMO is the least expensive type of plan. Covered individuals are given an even smaller pool of in-network dentists and may not receive coverage if treated at a non-network facility. DHMOs may reduce costs by emphasizing preventive care and by offering a select number of dentists to choose from.
Services covered by dental plans
Besides choosing one of the three types of dental insurance, the employer must decide on a benefits program that covers specific services. For example, some plans are comprehensive and cover everything from preventive care to major procedures, while others only cover preventive services.
In dental terms, preventive care refers to semi-annual check-ups and cleanings, yearly x-rays, and fluoride treatments and sealants for children covered under the plan. Basic dental care would refer to basic oral surgeries and restoration procedures. Major dental care refers to root canals, extractions, crowns, prosthetics, and advanced surgeries.
Dental plans can also be customized to include services like orthodontics and cosmetic dentistry procedures through the use of riders and options. For a small fee, supplemental services can be added to bulk up basic coverage plans.
Dental insurance is a valuable employee benefit
When facing such an important decision, numerous factors play into your choice. You must juggle the wants and needs of your employees with the cost and range of each plan. Is it better to have choices or to pay less in premiums?
The more communication you have with your employees, the better you will understand how to formulate a dental insurance plan that meets their expectations.
By promoting good oral health within the workplace, and through a benefits program, you will be doing a great service to your employees and your business.
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