Evaluating a dental provider: What to look for

Selecting dental coverage that best suits your company can go a long way toward employee satisfaction. In fact, more than two-thirds of employees consider dental benefits to be an extremely or very important part of an overall compensation package. Brush up on which aspects are most important when evaluating a dental benefits provider with our quick guide below.

Network
Network coverage is key to helping keep your employees – and your wallet – happy. A larger network means more in-network dentists for your employees to choose from. It also means that the dentists your employees currently visit will likely be in-network.

Visiting in-network dentists saves employees and employers money. It protects your employees from balance billing and saves your group money on claims, which typically account for the majority of an employer’s expense.

Cost management
The true cost of a plan extends beyond premiums. When deciding on a dental plan, evaluate the provider’s cost-containment strategies, cost-management history, fee arrangements with dentists and effective discounts delivered to all members. Long-term costs can be reduced with preventive care like regular dental exams and cleanings that help employees avoid costly procedures down the road. Some providers, such as Delta Dental, usually offer options with complete coverage for preventive care.

Cost transparency
Make sure the provider will deliver cost transparency and data on actual costs and benefits. This can often be lost when bundling medical and dental coverage where the only cost noted is a single premium.

Service
Knowing that your questions and issues will be addressed in a timely matter will help you feel confident and satisfied with your coverage decision. Being able to reach a local representative and easily use the provider’s website and mobile app (if they have one) can improve efficiency, flexibility, transparency and the claims process. Some providers even offer financial guarantees on pre-determined service standards, such as customer service and timely payment of claims.

Enhanced benefits
Some providers offer enhanced benefits, like additional exams and cleanings, at little or no cost to those with certain medical conditions who might benefit from additional oral health care. Enhanced benefits may be available for pregnant women and those with diabetes, suppressed immune systems and other systemic conditions.

Dental benefits expertise
Look for a provider that uses credible, evidence-based data to shape coverage options and has a proven track record of supplying high-quality benefits.

By knowing the needs of your employees and the most important benefits considerations to evaluate, you can select dental coverage that will be good for both you and your employees. Talk to your benefits consultant or local Delta Dental representative about your options.

1 Employee Benefits Research Institute, https://www.ebri.org/pdf/notespdf/EBRI_Notes_11_Nov-14_WBS.pdf


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