So you’re looking into buying some dental coverage for your new business. Not so hard, you think, it’s pretty much the same as any medical coverage, I’ll just get a decently priced plan and I’m sure that will be fine. Not so fast. Dental insurance (any medical coverage in general) is a bit like hiring a contractor. Each plan is a bit different and finicky in its own way. Some may take forever to do a job, but when its finished everything is fantastic. Others get right to the point and are okay, but charge through the nose for speed. Of course, there is always that one contractor that’s slow and the project turns out terrible—and nobody likes that guy. Dental plans have all of these aspects you have to consider, before agreeing to coverage for your business. Not only cost, but also waiting periods, annual maximums, and more can have huge effects on what your plan means for your employees. Fear not though, nothing is ever as difficult as it may seem. You just need a referral. Your friend glen just had his kitchen redone and the contractor was great, so now you have a reliable person to hire. While Glen can’t refer you to his dental plans, In a similar way, if you examine what individual plans do, the good and the bad separate distinctly.
The first thing to think about is what kind of coverage offerings there are. For the most part, there are really only three types of dental plans that you have to be aware of:
- Indemnity Insurance Plan- This type of plan is usually an individually purchased plan when an employee doesn’t want to use your insurance or wants to use a different dentist than the companies you offer.
- Dental Health Maintenance Organization Plan (DHMO): This plan is a bit different. You as an employer would sign into a network of dentists that offer care with a specific insurance company. This specific network would provide care for all employees in designated locations.
- Participating Provider Network Plan (PPO): This plan is pretty much a combination of the last two. Coverage will be carried out by a certain network of dental care providers, however this plan has a second part to it. It allows the recipient to pick an independent caregiver as well, meaning your employees would have some more choice as to where and who the go to for dental service. The difference in price, if any, between the two providers will come from the insured’s own pocket.
Often times, the best way to go is option two or three, as for a business, one network is the most straightforward. Now that that’s out of the way, no matter which option you choose, you have to pick the actual dental coverage you want to offer. These coverages are often bundled together. To go back to our contractor analogy, contractors usually have different companies they work with for plumbing or electrical work, so in choosing that contractor, your also choosing the baggage that comes with them. Much the same way, in choosing one type of plan from any insurance company, there is a range of bungles to pick. These will all vary in price based on what types of coverage they offer or the terms of the plans themselves. Some things to look out for when choosing:
- What’s covered? It’s a silly question to ask, but honestly a pretty good one to look into. How many cleanings are given per year? How much of basic and major services are covered or partially covered? How about corrective services like orthodontics? Often corrective services aren’t covered normal plans, especially for adults, so you may want to consider add on options, if your employees need such coverage.
- What are the waiting periods and annual maximum? An annual maximum is the max amount an insurance company will pay out for an individual plan. This can be eaten up quick, and should be carefully considered. A usual amount is around one thousand dollars, but if you’ve ever needed a crown, or a root canal, you know that a thousand bucks isn’t much at all. What is more, usually insurance companies will build in waiting periods, which come into play right after your employees sign up for a plan. During this time, they wont be able to get coverage for any major services.
So when picking a plan for your employees, take a few minutes and check out what plans are offered in the bundle you chose. Is there a low annual max? Are cleanings covered or is there copay? A more thought out decision could save you money and leave your employees cleaned toothed and happy.
Need more information? Here are a few resources you may find useful: