As the coronavirus pandemic brings healthcare to the forefront of America’s mind, HR professionals are considering the importance of benefits packages more than ever. Benefits are crucial to attracting and retaining good employees, even when there’s not a global pandemic — according to national studies, 49% of employees report they would seek out new jobs due to dissatisfaction with benefits, and 78% say benefits packages keep them from looking elsewhere. If you’re an HR professional evaluating your own benefit offerings, you’re likely coming across one puzzling obstacle over and over again: “wasted” benefits.
Wasted benefits are ones that employers pay for, but their employees simply don’t use. Recently, even cornerstone benefits like health insurance are falling into the category. Insurance companies’ profits are skyrocketing as the amount they have to shell out to cover patient procedures falls. Just look at UnitedHealth Group Inc.: the parent to America’s largest health insurer reported net income of $6.64 billion in the second quarter of 2020, compared with $3.29 billion in the same period last year. That’s their most profitable quarter in history, made possible by your employees’ wasted benefits.
Dental benefits are the most likely to go unused. According to the ADA, over ⅓ of adults 19 – 64 with private dental benefits don’t have a single dental claim per year. And that was before Covid! Additionally, for 69% of adults, the total money spent on dental care including premiums actually exceeds the “market” value of their dental care. These statistics illustrate just how raw a deal dental insurance can be for employers and employees alike.
But are there alternatives to standard dental insurance? As with anything else, when there is a gap in the healthcare marketplace, companies will create competitive solutions to fill it. That’s why I helped found Smylen, a new type of dental plan that eliminates that hassles barriers and barriers of going to the dentist by making booking easy and taking a consumer-driven approach to dental. We boast up to 70% savings over market prices with none of the premiums or restrictions of traditional insurance. Smylen lets employers sponsor or pay for employee memberships as an alternate (or additional) benefit.
Some insurers like Aetna, Cigna, and Humana offer a dental savings plan as an alternative to insurance. Historically, these plans offer moderate discounts and an archaic user experience (think: paper card mailed to your home with a phone number on it – woof!)
There are other options like Kleer that cater to dental practices, helping them set up membership programs for their patients as an alternative to insurance. Or Floss Bar, which brings dentists to your office to boost employee care (though this poses difficulties since COVID!).
In response to COVID-19, insurers are waiving fees for certain kinds of care to help quell the pandemic, which may begin to even out their enormous profit margins and encourage more people to seek care. However, dental care is not likely to be part of these changes, which cater more to PCP telemedicine or COVID-related hospital stays. So for HR professionals looking to provide their employees with the best benefits, ones they’ll actually use, dental insurance continues to be a black hole. Instead, try an alternative like Smylen that helps put your employees’ health over insurance profits.
Derek Giddon D.D.S. – Founder & CEO of Smylen
Interested in learning more about Smylen? Please visit our employer page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.