Benefits administrator blog from Delta Dental

Tag: dental insurance (Page 1 of 2)

5 common questions about adult orthodontics

Adult orthodontics has become a popular benefit enhancement in recent years. Adults are opting for orthodontic treatments at higher numbers than ever before, and the number seeking treatment is expected to grow in the next decade.

If your plan covers adult orthodontics, your employees will have different questions than they would if they were seeking treatment for their kids. Here are answers to some of the most common questions about adult orthodontics.

Why would an adult need braces?

Braces can help to treat problems that weren’t treated when employees were younger. An adult with an overbite or underbite, crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw may benefit from orthodontic treatment. Left untreated, these issues may contribute to serious conditions such as tooth decay, headaches and earaches, chewing issues and gum disease.

Are adult orthodontics more expensive than treatment for kids?

The cost of braces depends on your plan. A pre-treatment estimate can provide employees a good sense of how much the costs will be before treatment begins. All employees need to do is ask their orthodontist’s office to submit a pre-treatment estimate to Delta Dental.

Members can also use the Cost Estimator to get a sense of how much their orthodontic treatment will cost.

Can employees visit any orthodontist? How can they find an orthodontist?

Employees with a Delta Dental PPO™ plan can see any licensed orthodontist, and they’ll usually save the most when they choose a Delta Dental orthodontist. To find one, employees can use the online dentist directory to search for dentists in the Delta Dental PPO network and then filter their results to orthodontists.

Employees with a DeltaCare® USA plan must see their chosen DeltaCare USA dentist for care or get a referral to a specialist for their care to be covered by their plan. If they’ve already begun orthodontic treatment outside of the DeltaCare USA network and have been banded, most plans allow them to continue that treatment with the same coverage and copayments as their previous plan. If banding has not yet taken place, the employee must visit a DeltaCare USA orthodontist and pay the copayments listed in their DeltaCare USA plan booklet.

Is Invisalign a covered benefit?

Yes. If your plan includes adult orthodontic coverage, “invisible aligners” like Invisalign are covered as a standard benefit. For plans where alternative appliances aren’t covered, Delta Dental usually covers some of the costs of orthodontic treatment, which can help to reduce employees’ overall expenses.

What kind of orthodontic coverage is included in Delta Dental plans?

As with costs, coverage varies, but most Delta Dental plans include:

  • Pre-orthodontic treatment visit
  • Exam and start-up records
  • X‑rays
  • Orthodontist-recommended tooth extractions
  • Comprehensive orthodontic treatment
  • Post-treatment records

Plans usually cover one set of post-treatment retainers. For two-phase orthodontic treatment plans, retainers are usually covered after each phase.

Adult orthodontics aren’t commonplace yet, but they don’t have to be confusing! With these questions answered, your employees will be better able to decide if orthodontic treatment is right for them.

Keeping dental insurance when budgets are tight

With today’s pandemic-related economic uncertainty and rising interest rates, you may find yourself with a benefits budget that’s stretched a bit thin. If you’ve considered dropping your group’s dental benefits to save money ― or don’t think you have the resources to add them ― we’ve got you covered.

DeltaCare® USA, Delta Dental’s DHMO-type product, offers comprehensive dental benefits for less than you might expect. These copay plans cover more than 400 procedures, so your employees won’t have to sacrifice quality care for affordability.

What it offers

Most DeltaCare USA plans include additional cleanings at reduced copayments, at-home teeth whitening, athletic mouthguards and porcelain crowns. And our orthodontic treatment in-progress provision allows new members to continue treatment with their current orthodontist, even if that orthodontist isn’t in our DeltaCare USA network.

Other advantages include: 

  • Tooth-colored fillings for any tooth
  • No lab fees or other hidden fees
  • No hidden charges for materials such as resins, metals or porcelain

What’s more, as a fixed copayment plan, DeltaCare USA offers your employees both convenience and simplicity:

  • No deductibles or maximums
  • No claim forms
  • Low or no copayments for diagnostic and preventive care

How it works

In most states, employees select a DeltaCare USA primary care dentist and pay their set copayment directly to the dentist. That’s it. Our primary care dentists even coordinate specialty care. An added bonus is that there’s no paperwork.

How it helps you

DeltaCare USA plans are easy to manage and offer predictable costs. Available resources include:

  • A comprehensive administrator support guide
  • A recently updated wellness library that includes a variety of helpful dental wellness content, including a risk assessment tool, wellness videos and dozens of articles

Remember, one of the biggest boosts to your budget is happy, healthy employees. Each year, over $45 billion is lost in productivity because of dental issues. When employees without coverage avoid going to the dentist or delay care, their dental issues often become more serious and may contribute to serious medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

So if you think budgetary woes mean dental coverage might not be in your future, consider DeltaCare USA. You’ll help your employees — and your budget — stay healthy.

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.

 

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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.

 

 

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