Benefits administrator blog from Delta Dental

Tag: dental insurance (Page 1 of 2)

How COVID-19 is changing benefits in 2021

The global pandemic has had a profound impact on the way corporations attract, develop and maintain their human capital, and this includes changes to benefits packages. A June 2020 survey by Mercer found that some of the most common benefits changes that companies were considering in response to the pandemic included:

  • Expanding virtual health and telemedicine programs
  • Enhancing mental health support (including employee assistance programs)
  • Adding or expanding voluntary benefits

Have those predictions panned out? The International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) conducted a survey of U.S. employers to determine how the way businesses think about offering benefits has changed because of COVID-19. This study has found a move towards telemedicine, mental health benefits, flexibility around leave and greater consideration given to cost-saving measures. 

Fewer in-office visits means more telemedicine coverage

From visiting the dentist to an unexpected trip to the emergency room, in-office visits of all kinds are down from 2019 rates. That doesn’t mean that people are necessarily receiving less care, though. According to the IFEBP survey, nearly nine out of 10 employers reported seeing an increase in the number of telehealth claims filed in 2020. Dental offices are safe to visit, but for employees who are trying to socially distance (or simply have difficulty fitting a trip to the dentist into their schedule), Delta Dental offers multiple virtual dentistry solutions.

Stress and isolation lead to a greater emphasis on mental health benefits

Mental health claims saw a sharp rise in 2020. As employees cope with the stress and isolation that living with the realities of COVID-19 can cause, adding or enhancing access to mental health care is a cost-saving move. The effects of stress, depression and anxiety may not be as visible as with other issues, but they are no less real. They can lead to missed work and physical health issues, and so they’re equally important to cover with mental health benefits or employee assistance programs that offer support to employees.

More flexibility in leave is required as life throws curveballs at everyone

It’s important to be compassionate and flexible when it comes to your employees’ physical and emotional needs. Parents and other caregivers have been hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic and may need additional support as they try to juggle their work and home lives. Emergency leave for child or elder care, flexible use of paid and unpaid leave and offering carryover options for workers who can’t use their current vacation days are becoming more common.

Voluntary plans are becoming more popular to help keep costs low

Finally, consider that it may be in your organization’s best interests to change the kind of benefits offered. Voluntary plans are a great way to ensure that those who want dental coverage can keep it, even if cost-saving measures become necessary. The Smile On program is also available to provide dental coverage to those who are transitioning out of the workforce.

Communication is key

No matter how your benefits may change in response to the pandemic, being transparent and honest with your employees is essential. By alerting employees to benefits changes, you can ensure that they won’t be caught by an unpleasant surprise. Additionally, letting your employees know when new benefits are available and how to make the most of them can help keep them happier and healthier.

Dental implants are coming to DeltaCare USA

A new kind of DeltaCare® USA plan is available to you in 2021. Effective January 1, 2021, DeltaCare USA i‑series plans will be available with comprehensive coverage for dental implants. Once i‑series plan rollouts are complete (there will be nine in total), they will be available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

These plans are designed to address the growing demand for more affordable access to dental implants. Coverage for dental implants is a valuable benefit that employees ask for, so offering an i‑series plan makes dental insurance a more compelling choice for more employees. You’ll be able to offer a plan that fits more budgets than ever before but still offers cost savings, more choices in treatment options and coverage for procedures like teeth whitening.

These new plans will expand the coverage available to employees looking for more affordable dental insurance. For more information, please contact your account manager.

4 ways to create a motivating workspace

2‑minute read

Earlier this year, we shared how celebrating your employees can boost happiness and productivity. While showing appreciation for your employees is key, it’s not the only way to inspire your workforce. Designing the right work environment — from paint colors to plants — can also help motivate your employees. Check out our tips below to learn how the right office décor can uplift and encourage your team.

1. Don’t fear color. What color are the walls in your workplace? Are you surrounded by neutral tones or bold color? Research suggests that certain colors can affect a person’s productivity. If you want to spark some creativity in the office, try incorporating the color purple. If a laid-back vibe is what you want to evoke, try adding more blue and green to your surroundings. If you don’t want to saturate your entire workplace in color, consider painting a couple rooms to match the energy you’re after.1

2. Bring the outside in. You know how we just said green is a calming color? This is great news if your workplace has a view — nature is full of it! Try arranging your employees’ desks in a way that maximizes their view of the outdoors. What if your windows look out to a concrete jungle? Create your own lush landscape by decorating the office with plants and hanging artwork inspired by nature.

 3. Let there be (sun)light. While we all know too much sunlight can be harmful, sunlight in moderation can have mood-lifting benefits and may even help your employees stay focused.

“Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused.” – Healthline Media2  

Keep the blinds open to let as much natural light in as possible. If your workplace lacks natural light, resist the urge to crank up the overhead lights, which can be a nightmare for migraine sufferers. Instead, try providing individual desk lamps so your employees can adjust lighting to meet their own preferences.

4. Live your brand. A great way to get your employees excited about your business is to put it right in front of them. Why not display your mission statement on the wall? What about painting accent walls or providing office supplies in your brand colors? By immersing your employees in your brand, you’re helping them become invested in the business, its goals and its success.

 

Want more tips like these? Subscribe to Word of Mouth, our newsletter for benefits administrators, human resources professionals and businesses.

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1 http://www.arttherapyblog.com/online/color-psychology-psychologica-effects-of-colors/#.W4Qt5cJry01

2 https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/benefits-sunlight

What do St. Patrick’s Day and dental insurance have in common?

Probably more than you think …

2‑minute read

While we’re all for responsible celebration, Dr. Page Barden, one of our network dentists, reminds us that “any time you mix alcohol with revelry, your teeth could suffer.” And the data suggests he’s right many dentists see a spike in dental emergencies the day after St. Patrick’s Day.

So what can you do to protect your group’s smiles?
As with the rest of a good oral health care routine, prevention is key. According to Dr. Barden, that means “Drink in moderation. Make sure you have a wingman or wingwoman there to make sure you don’t wind up in my office black and blue.” That’s good advice, as most of the emergencies he sees March 18 have to do with sidewalk faceplants and fists to the teeth.

How should enrollees handle a dental emergency?
While this is something we want to avoid, it’s important to be prepared. Delta Dental PPOSM enrollees can visit any licensed dentist for emergency treatment.1 As for DeltaCare® USA enrollees, if they cannot visit their selected network dentist, they can call customer service for a referral or use their out-of-area emergency benefit.2,3 Share this helpful guide with enrollees if they have further questions.

While being careful is important, so is having fun. So encourage enrollees to have an enjoyable, but responsible St. Patrick’s Day!

For more stories like this, subscribe to Word of Mouth, our newsletter for benefits decision makers, administrators or HR professionals.

Are you a broker, agent or consultant? Subscribe to our producer newsletter, Insider Update.

 

1 Delta Dental PPO is underwritten by Delta Dental Insurance Company in AL, DC, FL, GA, LA, MS, MT, NV and UT and by not-for-profit dental service companies in these states: CA — Delta Dental of California; PA, MD — Delta Dental of Pennsylvania; NY — Delta Dental of New York, Inc.; DE — Delta Dental of Delaware, Inc.; WV — Delta Dental of West Virginia, Inc. In Texas, Delta Dental Insurance Company provides a Dental Provider Organization (DPO) plan. 

2 DeltaCare USA is underwritten in these states by these entities: AL — Alpha Dental of Alabama, Inc.; CA — Delta Dental of California; DC, DE, FL, GA, LA, MS, MT, WV — Delta Dental Insurance Company; MD, TX — Alpha Dental Programs, Inc.; NV — Alpha Dental of Nevada, Inc.; UT — Alpha Dental of Utah, Inc.; NY — Delta Dental of New York, Inc.; PA — Delta Dental of Pennsylvania. Delta Dental Insurance Company acts as the DeltaCare USA administrator in all these states. These companies are financially responsible for their own products.

3 Benefit typically limited to $100 per emergency, subject to standard plan limitations and exclusions; copayments may apply.

 

 

Get healthy, give healthy

With the right dental benefits carrier, creating healthy smiles can be easy. But what if your carrier could also help create healthier communities?

“Giving back” is a simple phrase, but sometimes finding the resources to get a project started is not so simple. That’s why we make it a priority to sponsor groups and organizations who work to advance oral health research, education and access to care for those in need. And now, you can learn about funding options and apply on the new Community Center section of our website.

What types of funding are available?
Three types of funding programs are available through the Delta Dental Community Care Foundation (DDCCF):

  • If your project involves supporting dental clinics or outreach programs for underserved communities, you might want to apply for the Access to Care Grant.
  • The Oral Health Education Fund might be the best option for your project if it involves education to raise oral health awareness in vulnerable populations.
  • If you’re working on a research project with big potential for improving oral health and reducing treatment costs, the Scientific Research Grant might be a good fit.

What if I want funding for a project that’s not directly related to dental health?
That’s fine! There’s a separate community fund for projects that support overall health and well-being like disaster relief or community service initiatives.

What’s an example of a recent project that was funded?
Recently, the UCLA School of Dentistry was awarded a $1.5 million grant to launch a community-based education program. Not only will this project expand training for dental students, but it will also help widen access to dental care for California’s underserved patients. Check out the full story.

Be sure to visit the Community Center to see if your project qualifies for funding! And if you have any questions, please send us an email.

What do your employees really want to know about their dental plan?

The answers are all in one place

Whether you’re new to Delta Dental or have had a PPO plan with us for years, we want to make sure your employees are making the most of their plans. With the second half of the year in full swing, it’s a good time to check in and see if your employees’ dental plan is keeping them smiling.

To help you better serve your employees’ benefit needs, here are the most common enrollee questions our PPO customer service team receives — and the best way to answer them.

  1. Q: How do I find out if my dentist is in-network?
    A: Simply log in to deltadentalins.com with your enrollee information. From the home page you can type your dentist name or practice into the Find a Dentist feature.
  2. Q: What do dentists charge for a normal visit?
    A: This varies depending on your location. Once you’re logged onto deltadentalins.com, click on the Explore Your Costs link on the home page to estimate costs for common services in your area.
  3. Q: Can I receive an ID card for each family member on my plan?
    A: While you don’t need an ID card for each family member, you can print additional copies of your ID card by logging on to deltadentalins.com and clicking Print ID Card from the home page.

Our online tools make it easy for enrollees to find what they’re looking for. Save yourself some time and help your employees manage their PPO plans right from the Delta Dental home page.

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