One of the good deeds insurers and benefits advisors can do this challenging year is to speak up for children’s teeth.
Brokers “understand the importance of dental benefits for both employers and employees, both from a health perspective and from the perspective of employers being able to attract and retain the most talented employees,” says Barbara Springer, a vice president at Delta Dental of Colorado, Denver.
When the Delta Dental Plans Association, Oak Brook, Ill., conducted a survey of parents and other people who care for young children, it found that 87% of the parents and guardians agreed that getting good dental care for children is as important as getting children good medical care.
The trick is persuading benefit clients’ employees, and individual customers, to do what they ought to do about dental care for children at a time when cash levels are low and stress levels are high.
Medicaid and State Children’s Health Insurance Program plans are now supposed to pay for dental care for low-income children and moderate-income children.
Most traditional group and employer-sponsored voluntary dental plans offer “family coverage” at the cost of less than a latte per day.
On the individual market, insurers are advertising family “discount only” programs and true dental insurance programs at a cost equal to about 200% to 300% of the individual rate.
In Kansas City, Mo., for example, one carrier advertises a dental indemnity insurance policy with an annual maximum of $1,200 for about $35 per month for an individual and about $80 per month for a family.
In New York City, another company offers true dental insurance, with a $1,200 maximum, for about $60 per month for individuals and about $172 per month for families.
Another company sells an individual discount program in both markets for about $9 for an individual and about $11 for a family.