Consumer-driven health benefit designs are on the radio, in the news, even mentioned during the President’s State of the Union address this past January.
How does dental fit into this trend?
Dental benefits have traditionally been consumer-driven in nature. Consumers already are financially responsible for deductibles and coinsurance when they undergo expensive dental procedures.
Similar strategies can be used to create cost-saving designs that place more emphasis on network utilization, offer high-deductible dental benefits and promote core/buy-up options.
Who would be interested in these types of benefit designs? Any employer looking to control costs would benefit from a consumer-driven dental benefit design, whether the employer has a consumer-driven health care design in place or not.
Another option to consider is use of a limited-coverage flexible spending account. Used in combination with a consumer-driven dental benefit design, an FSA can help employees budget for dental expenses.
FSAs allow employees to set aside a portion of their salary before federal, state and Social Security taxes to pay for qualified health and dependent care expenses. However, Internal Revenue Service regulations prohibit employers from offering a traditional full-service FSA in combination with an HSA-compatible high-deductible health plan and an HSA.