Benefits administrator blog from Delta Dental

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Take the mystery out of dental expenses with the Cost Estimator

Your employees are busy enough, so trying to figure out how to budget their dental care shouldn’t become a second job. That’s why we created the Cost Estimator, a tool available for desktop and mobile that your employees can use to estimate quickly and easily what their next dental visit will cost.

What’s more, the Cost Estimator has just been refreshed with a new, accessible and mobile-optimized design.

How can the Cost Estimator can help my employees?

The Cost Estimator provides employees with a personalized estimate (based on the fee schedule from the last dentist from whom they received service) for an entire dental visit with a specific dentist. It calculates employees’ out-of-pocket costs based on their current benefits. Information is updated daily, so your employees can always count on getting an accurate cost estimate.

This versatile and easy-to-use tool offers employees a variety of useful features and information to help them make the most of their benefits and helps them become better informed consumers.

In the tool, employees can choose from a list of common dental procedures ― they can even specify which tooth needs treatment or what type of filling they’d prefer! After they select their procedure, the Cost Estimator calculates their estimated out-of-pocket cost. The tool subtracts both the network savings and the portion the plan pays.

Other tasks your employees can perform with the Cost Estimator include:

  • Adding procedures. If employees need to add services such as a cleaning or x‑rays to their visit, they can add them to their estimate to get the total cost of the visit.
  • Comparing dentists. Employees might be curious to see if they’d save by switching to another dentist. The Cost Estimator lets them compare up to five in-network dentists to find the best deal.
  • Selecting plan members. Employees can get cost estimates for anyone on their plan, such as spouses and children.
  • Reviewing benefits usage. Employees can access the benefits activity and history for everyone on their plan, and can also review their plan’s maximums, deductibles and out-of-pocket limits.

How can the Cost Estimator help my bottom line?

The Cost Estimator provides members with transparency about their out-of-pocket costs. More cost transparency can mean fewer questions and less confusion about the value of visiting an in-network dentist. By showing the substantial cost differences between in-network and out-of-network dentist visits, the tool encourages in-network utilization — which can help members save and may help lower your group’s dental plan costs.

Is the Cost Estimator available to my group?

Yes! All Delta Dental PPO™ and Delta Dental Premier® groups are eligible to sign up for the Cost Estimator. Talk to your Sales contact to find out how to add this service to your plan.

DeltaCare® USA members receive a plan booklet with their copayments for covered services, so this tool isn’t necessary for DeltaCare USA plans.

To access the Cost Estimator, employees simply click Plan ahead for a visit from the member portal. PPO and Premier members can also access a more limited version of the Cost Estimator through the Delta Dental mobile app, which features in- and out-of-network fees.


With the Cost Estimator, your employees can be confident not only about staying within their budgets, but also that they’re getting the best deal for themselves and their families. Be sure your employees don’t miss out on this valuable resource.

Accessibility — more than just a buzzword

When most people think of accessibility, they may think of wheelchair ramps and designated parking spaces. But when it comes to ensuring high-quality care for your employees, accessibility is about more than the physical world. Accessibility extends into digital spaces and into the interactions that people have in their day-to-day lives. Let’s take a look at the ways accessibility can be an important part of dental insurance and what it means for your employees.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility is about making an experience available to the widest group of people, including those with physical or cognitive disabilities. That can include:

  • Using alternate text in images so that screen readers can describe them to users who are blind
  • Providing transcripts of videos for users who are deaf
  • Designing websites simply for users who have cognitive disabilities

What this means for your employees is simple: when your employees visit Delta Dental’s website or need to call customer service, their questions will be answered and their needs will be met, no matter their abilities.

Why does accessibility matter?

[Accessibility] improves people’s lives. And how often do you get a chance in your job to dramatically improve other people’s lives by just doing your work a little better?

Steve Krug, user experience professional

There are legal reasons to make accessibility a priority. Under laws such as the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, it is illegal to have federal electronic and information technology inaccessible to people with disabilities or to discriminate on the basis of disability.

But accessibility is about more than just avoiding a lawsuit. Accessibility is about inclusivity for all of your employees, no matter their needs. With just a little effort, impediments like being unable to hear a video or read a website can be overcome, and more people will be able to access the quality care that they deserve.

Additionally, designing websites and implementing customer service practices that make life easier for those with disabilities often makes life easier for everyone. Regardless of their abilities, everyone appreciates simple and intuitive designs and being able to change settings to their personal preferences when it comes to interacting with websites and customer service platforms.

What is Delta Dental doing to advance accessibility?

At Delta Dental, we are committed to ensuring the accessibility of our products and services for everyone. We are committed to providing a platform that goes beyond mere compliance and seeks to provide a more meaningful experience for our customers with diverse backgrounds, abilities and perceptions. Our website and other products comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 levels A/AA, section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), in addition to other local governing laws. For more information, see our accessibility statement.

In real terms, that means supporting the web browsers your employees might use, including Chrome, Edge, Safari and Firefox in desktop and mobile web views, as well as assistive technology including, but not limited to, screen readers and magnifiers on various platforms. We also provide services for non-English speaking employees through the Language Assistance Program (LAP). Through LAP, your employees can request documents in accessible formats, like Braille, and have on-site American Sign Language interpreters accompany them during dental visits. To take advantage of these services, including instructions on requesting an on-site interpreter, your employees can visit our language assistance page or call customer service.

Accessibility is about more than just checking boxes and meeting requirements. It’s really about providing a high quality experience for everyone. We’re proud to join you in bringing all of your employees great dental care.

New videos help explain Delta Dental’s online tools and networks

With a new series of educational videos, it’s easy to help your employees understand their plans. Whether your organization offers Delta Dental PPO™, DeltaCare® USA or both, you’ll find useful resources to explain Delta Dental’s networks and online tools.

Get to know Delta Dental’s online tools

Encourage your employees to sign up for an online account. This video walks employees through the robust online tools Delta Dental offers, including plan details, claim history, personalized cost estimates, the online dentist directory and a wealth of wellness resources.

What if your group’s plan doesn’t include the Cost Estimator? No worries. This shorter version of the same video touches on the same helpful features, minus the personalized cost estimate.

Understand the Delta Dental networks

A PPO plan offers savings, quality assurance and simplicity. Through this video, your employees will learn the advantages of this plan and the steps for finding a PPO dentist online.

Want to expand your employees’ options with the Delta Dental Premier® network? This video introduces both the PPO and Premier networks and explain how to search for both in our dentist directory.

If you offer a DeltaCare USA plan, help your employees understand how this prepaid plan works and show them how to select a primary care dentist.

Ensure accessibility

These videos were designed with accessibility in mind. While the vibrant visuals support the narration, all key messages are conveyed in the audio, which can also be accessed through closed captioning.

Share the videos with your employees

To share these videos on your website or intranet, just click on the videos to navigate to YouTube. Below the video you wish to share, click on Share > Embed. Then copy and paste the code into your webpage or intranet site.

New webpages designed to support you

Your job just got easier — at least that’s the goal of our new administrator web pages. We’ve redone the entire administrator section of our website to help make managing your plan and supporting your enrollees simple, fast and maybe even a little fun.

Some of the major changes include:

But don’t take our word for it — check out the pages for yourself. If you have any suggestions for additional improvements, please reach out to us. After all, these pages are meant to support you.

Ensure enrollees never leave their dental benefits behind

Whether your enrollees prefer a mobile-optimized site or a free app, they have two great ways to protect their smiles — wherever they go. Not only do our mobile web resources help enrollees manage their plan by putting the most popular features at their fingertips, but it can also mean less questions for you.1

Take a look at the highlights

Mobile-optimized site2 Free mobile app3
Find a dentist

X

X

View/present ID card

X

X

Check deductibles and maximums

X

X

See benefits and eligibility

X

X

Update preferences

X

Get treatment cost estimates

X

X

Assess oral health risk

X

With two mobile options to choose from, enrollees hold choice in their hands:

Download an app, or use the mobile-optimized site and save that memory space for the other things that keep them smiling. Share this flyer with enrollees to help them choose the best mobile resource for their needs. 

 

 

 

1 Mobile-optimized site provided through our enterprise, which includes Delta Dental of California, Delta Dental of Pennsylvania, Delta Dental of New York, Inc., Delta Dental Insurance Company and our affiliate companies. Mobile app provided through the Delta Dental Plans Association, a network of 39 Delta Dental companies of which our enterprise companies are members.

2 Available to Delta Dental PPOSM and Delta Dental Premier® enrollees only

3 Some features available to PPO and Premier enrollees only.

 

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