In today’s competitive marketplace, most companies want to provide comprehensive dental care to current and potential employees. “Dental plans rank third in top employee benefits, just after health and retirement.”18 According to Cathy Smithwick, head of dental practice at Mercer Consulting, dental coverage is the “visible benefit because an average of 75% of employees have a good dental plan .”19
Dental benefits not only increase employee satisfaction and morale, but they can also reduce hours lost due to dental issues. According to Oral Health in America, “working adults lose more than 164 million hours of work each year due to dental disease or dental visits.”10
A recent survey by NADP shows that only 56% of the US population has dental insurance.11 As a result, low-cost dental care solutions are highly sought after by employers and employees alike. “To meet employee demand, more and more employers have added dentistry to the benefits menu in recent years. One of the last survivors, the federal government, will provide dental benefits to employees in 2006.”20
“Seven in ten employers (71%) offer dental benefits and often use them as a differentiator when recruiting and retaining employees.”18 The research shows that the larger a company is, the more likely they are to receive dental benefits. offer benefits. “Of companies with at least 10 employees, 56% offered dental coverage in 2003. Just a year later, that figure had risen to 67%, according to an annual survey of employer-sponsored health plans by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. Dental supply at large employers (500 employers and more) increased from 90% to 96% of companies.”20
Unfortunately, many companies cannot afford to pay all or part of their employees’ dental costs. “Mercer data shows that dental costs averaged $577 for all employers in employers in 2003 and rose to $598 in 2004, an increase of 3.6%. Major employers, meanwhile, saw a 5.4% increase from $574 to $605.”20 According to Evelyn Ireland, Executive Director of NADP, “Employers are not dropping dental coverage, they are putting pressure on the amount they contribute to. 20 So as the cost of providing dental benefits to their employees continues to rise, companies are passing these price increases on to their employees. “The most obvious way for employers to control dental costs…is to make employees pay more.”20
Kirk Rothrock, CEO of CompBenefits, believes many companies are shifting the cost of dental benefits to their employees.20 “The biggest trend we’ve seen over the last three or four years is the shift from employer-paid benefits to voluntary benefits. he says. “Employers are saying, ‘I can no longer afford to pay for your dental bills.'”20 The State of the Dental Benefits Market, 2005 affirms that “more than 70% of the population pays at least some of their dental premiums” and pay approximately 25% of their entire dental premium.16
Many companies are turning to discounted dental plans, an affordable alternative to dental insurance, to cover the cost of providing their employees with valuable dental benefits. Discounted dental plans offer flexible, affordable dental benefits that are easy to implement and virtually effortless to administer. They offer companies an ideal addition to their existing fringe benefits and offer a more balanced package of benefits. Many companies use discounted dental plans to offer dental benefits to people rarely covered by traditional dental insurance, including retirees, part-timers, seasonal workers, and uninsured dependents.
Discounted dental plans are much cheaper than the $600 many companies currently pay to cover employees with traditional dental insurance. Plus, discounted dental plans save companies valuable business time with convenient dental benefits solutions without tedious paperwork. By giving employees the freedom to choose their own plan, companies don’t have to choose dental benefits that fit the unique, individual needs of their diverse workforce. Low cost dental plans allow companies to give their employees the peace of mind they deserve and the affordable dental care they desire.
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