Although dental surgeries are gradually starting to reopen, the difficulties of accessing affordable dental care are likely to continue to touch a nerve with most employees.
Dentists will not be able to see as many people as before as a result of having to comply with social distancing and cleaning regulations whilst grappling with huge backlogs. They are also having to splash out on PPE.
These extra costs will more than likely end up being passed on to private patients, who already have to cope with bills of hundreds – or even thousands – of pounds for significant treatments.
Yet accessing private dentistry will become an even higher priority for employees – and their employers – in order to avoid the ever-increasing NHS waiting lists and the associated presenteeism implications.
Even the most loyal and diligent employee is unlikely to manage to perform at anything near their optimum if they are having to deal with agonising toothache and, whilst DIY dental kits have been selling like hotcakes online, there is a limit to what they can achieve.
Furthermore, those who do manage to get timely NHS appointments are still incurring significant costs – from £22.70 for Band 1 items like check-ups and diagnosis to £269.30 for Band 3 treatment like crowns, dentures and bridges.
Don’t forget also the knock-on costs to employers that can result from employees having to travel for hours to see an NHS dentist. Some take an entire day off work. But corporate dental cover should enable them to access private treatment nearer the office.
In short, there has never been a greater need for employers to provide employees with corporate cover via either group dental insurance or health cash plan schemes.
Both can help towards the costs of NHS and private check-ups and treatments and can be offered as either company-paid schemes or as voluntary benefits within or outside flex schemes.
They have an unusually high perceived value amongst employees because they know they will be claiming on them regularly.
Many employees are also aware that it is hard to find good value dental insurance outside the workplace because the individual market is dominated by capitation and maintenance plans that cap the costs of regular preventative treatment but, despite requiring steep monthly payments, don’t cover all dental costs.
Furthermore, those insured schemes that are available in the individual market can offer poor value in comparison to corporate schemes because insurers cannot achieve the same spread of risk. They therefore price them in the knowledge that they tend to be taken out by those most likely to claim.
At Chase de Vere we find that clients with the highest levels of available benefit spend often opt for stand-alone dental insurance schemes, whilst those with the lowest spend err more towards cash plans. But both approaches have their pros and cons to consider.
Company-paid dental insurance schemes, which offer the more generous benefit limits, can be set up for as little as £10 per employee per month for a basic level of cover.
Company-paid cash plans, on the other hand, can cost as little as £2 per employee per month and still offer a worthwhile level of routine dental cover (together with generous amounts of cover for dental accident and injury) in addition to a range of other minor health benefits – like optical check-ups and the cost of new glasses, complementary therapies and specialist consultations.
It is also important to realise that it is not simply an either/or choice between these two types of scheme because different dental insurance and cash plan providers can have very different benefit ranges and cost structures.
So it’s important to select the most appropriate one in conjunction with advice from an expert intermediary familiar with the whole market.
Chase de Vere can help you to choose the scheme most suitable for your budget and requirements and also to communicate its benefits to your workforce.
Content correct at the time of writing and is intended for general information only and should not be construed as advice.