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Dental Coverage: Something To Smile About

Does your company offer employees dental insurance? If so, smile while going about your business.

Reality reveals that if you’re not a big firm – one that employs fewer than 200 workers–there’s a 50 percent chance that you offer dental insurance. And even if you do, you may not be contributing to your employees’ plan.

For startups and those in the service industry, dental plans are not de rigueur, let alone something for which you can budget contributions. Indeed, nearly half of those businesses employing fewer than 200 cite cost as the major reason for not offering a dental plan, per a Kaiser Family Foundation study. The remainder indicate that their employees had previous coverage, their operation is too small, or they provide funds to their employees to pursue their choice of healthcare through a non-group market.

Want to Keep the Best and Brightest?

Wherever you fall in this array of business brackets, no matter the average age of your workers or their average salaries, offering a dental plan can give you an edge over your competition.

First, it’s a simple matter of minimizing employee down time. In other words, it reduces the rate of employees staying home due to illness. In cases of dental health, periodontal diseases concerning the gums, an infection from a missing or damaged tooth, and similar maladies can preclude a worker’s ability to be present.

Blue Shield of California reports that 164 million work hours are lost each year because of dental diseases. Severe gum disease alone afflicts about 20 percent of adults aged 25-44, according to the American Dental Association.

Moreover, any of the aforementioned dental complications can inflict more serious, debilitating consequences, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary complications, per Blue Shield of California. Clearly, any of these afflictions amount to much more than missed days at work. They can result in losing an otherwise valuable employee altogether.

Any source of dental pain is a source of distraction regarding a worker’s productivity. A mere cavity left unattended can render an employee ineffective at his or her workstation.

Keep ‘Em Smiling and Confident

In the service industry, a smile or mouth that is visually affected by poor dental health can dissuade an employee from smiling when dealing with your customers. Worse, the unappealing nature of a dental affliction can negatively impact an employee’s confidence when dealing with your clients in person. In short, customer service is reliant in part on the dental health of your support team.

How to Assess Your Standing Among the Competition

If you’re a smaller business, the decision to take the plunge into an employer provided dental plan is a financially serious one. So, it’s important for you to assess other employers, roughly equal in size, in your industry.

In terms of plans, the Blue Care Network of Michigan considers a small business one which employs 50 or fewer workers and offers quotes for businesses of this size. Also, consider your geography when it comes to competition for attracting the best workers through a dental plan.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers in the Northeast are most likely to offer dental insurance – 76 percent to be exact. Employers in the South provide dental in the lowest numbers, at 63 percent. The Midwest and West fall roughly around 70 percent.

Workers’ age also plays a factor in your competitors’ decision making when it comes to providing or contributing to a dental plan. A phone bank with a younger workforce is less likely to offer dental than an employer with a diverse range of workers on its staff.

A competitive benefits package within your industry can give you a leg up when it comes to building a workforce which will outperform your competition. This is especially true for dental coverage, which is often eschewed by employers because of its cost.

Examine your employee demographics as well as those of your competitors before deciding on your dental coverage offerings. Then, find the most cost-efficient provider before making any final decisions.



March 13, 2017




Article Care HR Professionals Under 50 Employees

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