Dental coverage is one of the most popular fringe benefits that you can give to your employees. The American Dental Association recommends that people see a dentist at least once or twice per year, so you’ll be giving your employees a benefit that they’ll use and appreciate regularly. One effective way to provide dental coverage is through a dental network. A plan through a network can sometimes be more affordable and easier to manage than regular dental insurance.
A major advantage of using a dental network is that the coverage will be more affordable for you and your employees. Dental networks work on the same principle as health insurance networks do: A dentist joins a network and agrees to the network’s fee structure, and these fees are typically lower than what dentists charge on their own. Network dentists are willing to charge less in exchange for more business from being part of a network.
Dental networks also save you and your employees money because they change the way in which services are approved and billed. In some insurance models, the provider gets paid for each service that they provide, which is known as a fee-for-service model. While this can sometimes mean that patients don’t have to wait for tests or procedures, it can also lead to tests and procedures that later turn out to have been unnecessary.
The National Association of Health Underwriters sees this fee-for-service pricing model as one of the biggest contributors to rising medical costs, as detailed in a BenefitsPro article. Under a dental network, however, dentists must justify the value of procedures to the insurance provider, which eliminates waste. These savings then get passed along to your company in the form of lower insurance premiums. They also help employees by saving them the time and money they would have spent undergoing procedures that they didn’t need.
Flexibility to Choose Different Providers
One of the criticisms of dental networks is that they limit your employees’ choices to dentists who are on the network. While this is true to an extent, it’s not as big a problem as you might think; your employees should still have access to a large network of dentists. The range of options may not be limitless, but employees should be able to find a dentist that suits their needs.
Another option is to sign up for a plan that allows your employees to see out-of-network providers if they choose. With these plans, your employees can see an out-of-network dentist, but they’ll pay higher co-payments, co-insurance payments and deductibles. Allowing out-of-network coverage gives your employees more flexibility when it comes to choosing a provider.
As medical costs continue to rise, it’s important to consider all the options for your company’s medical and dental coverage. A dental network can be the right way to offer your employees the benefits that they deserve at a price that they — and you, as an employer — can all afford.
David Rodeck is a professional freelance writer based out of Delaware. Before writing full-time, he worked as a health- and life-insurance agent. He specializes in making insurance, investing and financial planning understandable.