An HR Blueprint for Group Dental Benefits

HR’s Newest Alternative for Group Dental Insurance

The Covid-19 pandemic has upended work life as we know it and employees seek an empathetic work culture, valuable benefits, and flexibility in a post-pandemic world. For HR leaders, this impacts how they attract and retain top talent that embody company culture.

The traditional way of choosing group dental insurance has been unchanged for decades. Insurance offerings come with limited choices and options, and dental coverage is often treated as an added cost for employers.

The benefit is great to have but flaws in the system create barriers to receiving optimal dental care. It’s a process that has been stagnant for far too long and is ripe for innovation and digital transformation.

Employees name group dental insurance as the third most important benefit, behind only health insurance and a retirement savings plan. According to a Harvard Business Review, more than 80% of employees would rather have additional benefits than a pay raise. Following medical coverage, dental coverage is listed as the #1 benefit that employees want.

As an HR leader, your priorities must be aligned with your employees and the talent you want to attract.

This shows employees their family, health, and financial future are valued.

What many employees do not realize, which you have likely encountered, is that dental insurance is designed around a general structure where the insurance company retains every single unused benefits dollar.

This underscores the need for smart benefit solutions to address the needs of your employees.
If you are looking to offer a group dental benefit that is customized to your company’s budget and the general wellness of your employees, you’ll need to know how to build better dental plans while avoiding the pain points of traditional insurance.

Why Offering Group Dental Benefits Is Important?

Healthy employees are happy, more productive employees and oral health plays a big part in that. By offering employee dental benefits and access to proper preventative care, you are reducing the number of dental emergencies and unexpected loss of productive hours.

Keeping your workforce healthy keeps the business running smoothly and contributes to your bottom line.

According to this CDC study, on average, over 34 million school hours and more than 45 million dollars in productivity are lost each year due to dental emergencies. The economic impact of unmanaged oral health, largely due to absence from work, is significant and has a direct impact on your bottom line.

Regular dental care is recommended for all adults, yet it is often an overlooked aspect of healthcare for employees. A dentist may also be the first line of defense in diagnosing health problems of non-dental diseases and can detect early-stage symptoms during a routine oral exam — including cancer, kidney disease, osteoporosis, and more. Gum disease, for example, can exacerbate diabetes and heart disease. It can also cause tooth loss which impacts nutrition, speech, appearance, self-esteem, and overall health.

Lack of proper routine dental care is always more costly in the long run for an employee’s pocket and your company’s bottom line.

Small Business Insurance

What can dental insurance for small businesses cover?

Traditional Group Dental Insurance Options

With many traditional dental insurance plans available to employees, HR leaders need to pay close attention to not only the flexibility they provide to employees, but also the cost-benefit to the business. Traditional group dental insurance is designed around a general structure (“100-80-50”), and typically supports only the number of visits they predict to be necessary, keeping any unused benefits dollars the employer or employee contributed.

Here are the four most common types of traditional dental insurance:

1. PPO

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans mean an insurance company has contracts with a network of dentists who have agreed to charge certain fees for approved services. Patients are not required to visit in-network dentists, however, PPO in-network dentists will have the lowest out-of-pocket costs of these four traditional dental insurance options. A co-payment will have to be paid for certain procedures and will require the patient to reach a deductible with an annual maximum.

Limitation: PPO dental plans tend to have an annual limit on coverage with much higher co-payments and higher premiums than HMO plans.

2. HMO

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans require the patient to select an in-network primary care dentist for their coverage to be eligible. It is the most limiting of plans because you must rely on only in-network dentists for all oral health needs. There are no deductibles or annual maximums, and patients are responsible for co-pays for certain procedures.

Limitation: HMO plans have a smaller dentist network size and likely have restrictions around the number of visits, treatments, or diagnostic tests allowed

3. Fee-for-Service

With a very large pool of dentists to choose from, fee-for-service plans, or indemnity plans, allow patients to seek care from any dentist they choose. The plan identifies a predetermined percentage of the “usual, reasonable and customary” charges for the service or care received. Dentists determine their own fees for dental procedures and typically expect payment for the quoted fee at the time of service.

Limitation: Patients are responsible for any deductibles or cost-sharing. A FFS plan tends to be more expensive than managed care plans, like an HMO or PPO, because those plans contract with providers to take a discounted fee for certain services.

4. Discount Plans

With no limitation on the network, Dental Discount plan patients gain access to a network of dentists who have agreed to provide discounted rates to plan members with no deductible or annual maximum. Patients pay the discounted rate completely out of pocket and directly to the dentist after receiving their dental care. While these have been the standard group dental insurance options, organizations are finding modern alternatives to these plans using flexible benefit platform alternatives.

Limitation: Unlike health insurance, the discount plan doesn’t pay anything for your employee’s care. Rather, the dentists who participate agree to give you a discount for the care you receive.

Dental Insurance vs. Dental Benefits

Little has changed with the dental insurance industry over the decades, despite technological advancements and the rising costs of oral care delivery. Traditionally speaking, dental insurance is not really insurance. When broken down, it’s merely a prepaid specific group benefit—one that is enveloped in processes and procedures. The procedure of finding a desirable in-network dentist, the procedure of procuring pre-approval, the procedure of filing claims, and the procedure of billing.

Dental insurance can be severely limiting, and many discover that a serious procedure can leave them with a hefty bill they will need to cover out of pocket. Traditional dental insurance typically has an annual maximum of $1,000 to $2,000, along with co-payments for all major services, on top of hefty monthly premiums.

Dental insurance can also drive up the cost of care given the addition of administrative staff and tasks to work with insurance providers and navigate the processes they require. While protection from catastrophic medical expenses is perceived as a necessity, the coverage of dental services, historically, has been conceived as a benefit.

With a group dental benefit plan powered by Bento, there is no added risk. Plans can be customized and upgraded based on your group’s needs, where you set the limits and know exactly how the benefit dollars are used with the advantage of keeping any dollars that go unused.

Only nine percent of Americans use their entire annual maximum, which allows traditional insurance companies to retain unused benefit dollars. With Bento, you could keep this excess and save on State/ACA Taxes, claims processing fees, and insurance capital reserves.


3 Ways Bento Is Transforming The Group Dental Insurance Landscape

Bento is an innovative and patented SaaS technology platform with claims adjudication capability that enables employers to seamlessly build and implement flexible and custom dental plans tailored to the needs of their employees.

Transforming the way oral benefits are rendered and enveloping this process with innovative technology can create a system that is infinitely more efficient and accessible.

Bento handles multiple business processes – payment, claims processing, network, mobility, adjudication, and security – and offers a compelling alternative to traditional dental insurance processes.

1. Innovative Technology

Bento is the only end-to-end platform in the industry that can support any plan configuration and can integrate any network. Bento’s Benefit Builder makes it easy to create a dental plan in minutes, no matter the group size.

Bento’s technology benefits don’t stop with HR. As a company, we understand how important benefit offerings are to employee retention. Bento’s award winning and user-friendly mobile app gives your employees access to benefits and oral care information at their fingertips.

Bento’s revolutionary technology eliminates the confusion of denials, hassles of balance billing, and time wasted on pre-authorizations for treatment.

2. Cost savings

Bento provides BIG savings for everyone. Employers and groups save 20% – 40% when switching to Bento from a fully insured plan, while their employees and members save up to 40% on all dental services when they visit Bento dentists. With Bento, there are no premiums and you only pay-as-your-employees-go, for actual utilization.

Oh, and forget surprise bills. Bento’s AI-powered integrity check and instant adjudication protects groups and their members from billing errors. Out-of-pocket costs? Bento lets members pay touch-free directly through the app. What about the risk? Dental benefits are typically capped with an annual max per person. Your plan limits the risk to a fixed and defined dollar amount.

3. Easy enrollment process

HR representatives can build a custom, flexible dental plan in minutes – one that gives their employees choices and adequate coverage. Unlike traditional insurance, Bento offers real-time reporting with complete access to your plan’s data, usage, and other details on demand.

Bento’s expert team removes the friction of enrollment with direct integrations to existing systems and provides employees with custom collateral and resources. With flexible plan options for companies of every size and budget, enrollment is a breeze. Bento’s patented machine learning algorithms make processing claims easy, while reducing the administrative burden every step of the way.

Bento Empowers You To Offer A Dental Benefit With Real Value

Bento enables you to offer dental benefits that is valued by your team, and delivers a modern, transparent, and seamless benefit experience.

Bento places more knowledge, convenience, and tools at the fingertips of the employer. Adopting innovation is made easy with an intuitive interface, powered by smart technology and a well-developed AI platform at the back end.

We know that when you’re looking to build your benefits package for employees, every dollar matters – and getting the most out of every dollar is our priority.

Traditional insurance fees and claims are shrouded in mystery. Bento’s members will always be able to see what they are paying for and why. The dental benefits industry needs a revamp and Bento is the next generation of group dental solutions.

Be a champion for your employees and offer them a valuable and modern benefit solution endorsed by the American Dental Association.

The future of dental benefits is here! Learn how you can power your group dental benefits with Bento!