1. It’s a highly appreciated benefit
The 2018 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey asked plan members to choose what they value most about their health benefit plan. Fifty-one percent said they valued its contributions toward regular or routine healthcare costs like dental care, while only 24% chose its coverage for unexpected and possibly high healthcare costs.
For large employers, 90% of health benefit plans cover basic dental services, while 67% cover major restorative services. Strangely, while many employees don’t really like seeing a dentist, they love having dental insurance. Why? Because when your teeth hurt, it really hurts — both physically and economically.
The Canadian Academy of Health Sciences reported in 2014 that Canadians spend about $12 billion per year on dental services, but 6 million people annually avoid dentists because of costs. And treatments costs continue to rise.
The other plus side for employees is that, unlike life insurance and even health insurance, they will actually get to use their dental plan regularly. Depending on their oral health needs, individuals will use their plan as frequently as every six months.
2. It can help your employees stay at work
While including a dental plan will automatically make a benefits package seem more comprehensive and attractive to potential employees, the critical issue is that is can help current employees stay productive.
Oral diseases affect an employee’s general health and well-being. There is a link between poor oral health and the severity of chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Chronic conditions can affect as many as two-thirds of your workforce. And certain medications employees regularly take — such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants — are associated with gum disease and infection.
If you have customer-facing employees, oral diseases and missing teeth can affect that employee’s confidence, which can affect performance.
Most importantly, having a dental plan in place can reduce sickness absence caused by toothache and associated problems. In 2014, there were almost 222,000 visits to Ontario physician offices for teeth and gum issues. That means that approximately every three minutes across the province, someone went to a doctor’s office seeking care for a dental problem — often because they did not want to spend out-of-pocket dollars to visit a dentist. The problem is, physicians are not trained or equipped to deal with diseases affecting teeth and gums, so they cannot provide appropriate treatment. Having dental insurance allows employees to address issues promptly and properly, reducing time away from work.
3. Dental plans offer more than just dental coverage
Individual dental health plans offer from 50%–100% reimbursement for basic dental services like fillings, cleaning, scaling, examinations, polishing, and select extractions. Employees will be able to schedule recall visits every six to nine months. Enhanced plans can offer up to 80% reimbursement for major restorative services like oral surgery, periodontics, and root canal after one year, and bridges, crowns and dentures after two years of coverage.
An individual dental plan will also provide employees with other coverage such as
- vision care
- registered specialists and therapists including chiropractors, chiropodists, naturopaths, registered massage therapists, physiotherapists, acupuncturists and registered psychologist or psychotherapists
- homecare and nursing or personal support workers, therapists and dieticians
- prosthetic appliances and durable medical equipment
- accidental dental and accidental death and dismemberment
- hearing aids
- travel medical insurance.
Some individual dental plans also offer add-on benefits like:
- additional medical travel insurance so employees won’t need to buy any other coverage
- extra vision care benefits to increase coverage
- semi-private or private hospital coverage.
And, if you employees have some of these coverages under a group plan, there is no waste. An individual health plan works with group coverage, ‘topping up’ benefits employees use – so they can enjoy fewer out of pocket costs.
Together, the comprehensive range of benefits makes an individual dental insurance plan a strong foundation for an employee benefit program or a valued enhancement to existing group coverage that lacks dental insurance.
And the good news for employees is that most dentists submit claims directly to the insurer for reimbursement. This means an employee will only have to show their benefit card to confirm coverage for the services provided — and they won’t have to pay out of pocket for those services.
4. Offering a plan is easy
Did you know that most employees will qualify for an individual dental insurance plan? Medical questions can disqualify some health applicants, but as an employer it’s important to offer benefits that all employees can enjoy.
If an employee has a serious health condition they will be guaranteed individual dental insurance coverage. There are no medical questions asked, and coverage is available for employees 18 years of age and older (and renewable for life).
Plans can cover single employees or their families; children under age 21 can apply as dependents.
Best of all, employees can go online to SBIS and apply for coverage.
5. It’s economical
Dental insurance health plans cost about 25% less than those that cover both drug and dental health benefits.
A portion of the individual dental plan insurance premiums may be deductible as a business expense and may also be non-taxable to an employee. The insurer will provide convenient online access so you can print receipts for income tax purposes. It is important to consult with a tax advisor to be certain.
Offering the insurance plan can potentially be more valuable to an employee than a pay increase.
Not ready to fund an individual health plan for employees? You can still offer SBIS services directly to your workforce for them to purchase. They will know you have their protection in mind, and we will help them find a plan that suits their needs and budget.
Want to find out more?
At SBIS, we partner with leading insurers so that we can help you select a plan that best suits your needs and budget. Or just pass along SBIS contact information to your employees and we will do the rest. Give us a call today — our job is to help you and your employees smile about your insurance needs.