5 ways to start client conversations about dental insurance

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Fact: Dental plans have the highest participation rate of any non-medical benefit – 68% percent of eligible employees enroll when offered by their employer.1 

Brokers know how important dental insurance is to employees2, and you're likely well versed in all the ways it can help foster workforce wellbeing. But as companies scramble to deal with worker shortages, supply chain issues, inflation, and an unsettled post-pandemic economy, they have a lot of other things on their minds. As a result, it can be hard to get clients to focus on the seemingly less-pressing issue of dental insurance benefits – let alone how dental insurance can help them achieve specific business goals.

The key to having a more productive conversation is by making dental highly relevant to clients' current concerns. Because the truth is, dental coverage can be an important part of the solution for many of the issues businesses are now struggling with. Here are five ways to engage clients in how dental connects:

1. Is employee retention a problem?

"The Great Resignation" is a somewhat puzzling but real phenomenon for many employers. Why do employees leave? The causes likely vary for every company and industry, but ultimately, every person who leaves an employer undergoes a thought process that leads to the same conclusion: things would be better somewhere else.

Those "things" could include salary, stress levels, recognition, lifestyle concerns, and other factors. But here's the thing: when an employer adds or enhances dental benefits, it can help make an employee's current job seem better by every one of those measures:

  • Salary – Dental insurance is one of the most sought-after employee benefits3. So it has real value to employees, especially when employers pay part or all of the premiums. There’s value in helping employees access quality preventive dental care, and save more in the event they need a serious dental procedure
  • Stress – Perceived cost is the #1 reason for skipping dental visits4. The Kaiser Family Foundation has found that many adults express more difficulty affording health and dental costs than other items like rent, transportation, and food5. Dental coverage is one of the best ways to alleviate dental cost anxiety, especially with an upgraded plan that makes routine preventive visits free for employees.
  • Recognition – Proper dental care can help detect and mitigate a wide variety of medical conditions and is increasingly considered to be essential to overall wellbeing6. A truly comprehensive dental plan with added features like coverage for oral cancer screenings, periodontal treatments, and dental implants is one of the most meaningful ways to demonstrate that the company recognizes, understands, and cares about employees' needs.
  • Lifestyle Ultimately, employees want to better their own lives and the lives of their families. When an employer offers benefits that go beyond what's needed to satisfy employees, it forces them to wonder: "Would leaving really make my life better?"

2. Are lost work days hurting productivity?

More than 70% of working adults with dental insurance visit the dentist at least once a year, but that drops to 40% without insurance.7 Preventive care helps identify and treat dental issues before they become more severe problems that can – and do – impact productivity: The NIH has estimated that 92.4 million hours are lost per year due to unplanned and emergency dental visits. But preventive checkups, cleanings, and x-rays can also help identify many general health issues early on when they are easier to treat. The fact is, more than 90% of all common diseases show symptoms in the mouth.7  And the importance of good oral health goes beyond detection: a growing body of research7 shows that it can help adults avoid or better manage serious health-related issues, including:  

  • Diabetes - Periodontal infections contribute to problems with glycemic control, which compromises the health of diabetic patients.
  • Heart disease - The inflammation associated with periodontal disease has a high potential to contribute to coronary artery disease.
  • Pregnancy - Studies have indicated that mothers with high levels of certain bacteria in the mouth were found to have children with similarly high levels of bacteria, along with a higher risk of tooth decay.

Dental coverage benefits strategies that include more allowances for preventive care, higher co-insurance levels, and lower copays tend to encourage higher utilization8. That can make a meaningful impact on an employee's overall health and wellbeing. Comprehensive dental benefits can be a wise investment if clients want to keep their workers healthy and productive.

3. Are you looking for ways to help control group benefits costs?

Heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions tend to result in high-cost medical claims, which can increase group health premiums. Those premiums can be an employer's second or third largest expense after payroll. But the positive health benefits of dental insurance and regular oral care (see above) can help mitigate the severity and cost of many medical issues, helping to control group medical costs. 1 And by helping keep employees healthy and on the job, it could also help contain disability costs.

Guardian works with brokers to tailor plans to each client's concerns.

Is your client looking to improve health outcomes? Lower claims costs? Attract and retain more employees? We will work with you to design a Guardian group dental insurance plan that delivers more of what your client values for less money. 

4. Do you want to make your benefits package more attractive – without adding a lot of cost?

Group dental benefits can be offered as a voluntary product at virtually no cost to the employer. But even if the company pays part or all of the premiums, the price is more affordable than many people think: Plans can be had for less than $1 a day per employee1. And many providers, including Guardian, will pair dental with a vision plan at minimal cost, adding further value to the package.

5. Do you want to stand out from other companies trying to attract employees?

A majority of potential hires say they prefer better benefits to better pay1 – and as noted, dental is one of the benefits employees value most. In fact, our proprietary research indicates that despite lower utilization due to office closures during the pandemic, patients with dental insurance actually valued that insurance even more.9 Further, most employers who plan to change dental benefits plan to increase them. It’s in your clients’ interest to recommend a dental insurance carrier that takes care of employees by valuing preventive dental care, offering unique features, and helps employees save money. 

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Guardian works with brokers to tailor plans to each client's concerns.
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