A dental insurer will be sweetening benefits to persuade dental plan members to get regular checkups and cleanings.

Aetna Inc., Hartford, has designed its new Dental Care Reward program for employers that will stay with it for 2 or more years.

If an employee goes to the dentist for a cleaning or checkup in the first program year, Aetna will cover a greater percentage in the following program year for services such as fillings and crowns, Aetna says.

Aetna will reward members with up to 3 annual increases.

The maximum amount that Aetna will cover after implementing the increases is 100% for preventive, diagnostic and basic care and 70% for major care.

Employers can combine the program with either an indemnity plan or a preferred provider organization plan. The PPO network includes access to 95,000 dentists.

Aetna also is introducing an Aetna DMO Access dental maintenance organization plan.

The DMO Access plan, which offers a $0 co-pay for preventive and diagnostic services and no annual limit on benefits, provides access to 35,000 DMO dental offices.

Plan members also can visit 56,000 additional offices using a discount card program.