HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Dental Insurance Benefit
Are you interested in offering dental insurance benefits to your employees but don’t really know how to get started? Read on for dental insurance benefits basics and tips for selecting a good plan for your company.

What Are Dental Insurance Benefits?

Dental insurance benefits are resources to help your employees manage the cost of dental care.

Should Companies Offer Dental Insurance Benefits?

Dental insurance can be a cost-effective way to support the needs of your employees. There are varying options for dental insurance. Employers may choose not to contribute to the cost of the plans, making it a voluntary, affordable benefit for your employees. There are also discount plans that may be a great alternative to insurance if you are unsure that insurance is the right option for your company.

Pros of Offering Dental Insurance Benefits

  • Preventative care. Most dental insurance plans cover preventative care costs, so individuals don’t have to pay the cost of preventative care for themselves or others on the plan, such as annual checkups.
  • Reduced costs. Other dental costs are significantly reduced, which can help make the price of other dental care needs more manageable for individuals and their families.
  • Promotes wellness. Having insurance to help support the cost of dental care encourages individuals to make their healthcare a priority. It relieves a portion of the burden and makes it easier to give themselves the care they need.
  • Employee benefits package. It’s a contribution to the overall benefits package you offer to your workforce, and it’s a relatively low-cost option. Employees derive work satisfaction from the benefits that are offered to them. Medical, dental, and vision insurance are all tied significantly to employee satisfaction. The more a company can pump up their benefits package, the higher employee satisfaction becomes, which in turn leads to higher productivity and retention.

Cons of Offering Dental Insurance Benefits

  • Recurring costs. Any benefits plan costs something. While there’s no requirement for the employer to contribute to the premium for dental insurance, if you choose to, it creates a monthly cost. If you do not, the employee becomes responsible for it if they choose to enroll.
  • Administrative burden. Someone needs to be responsible for choosing plans, managing employee enrollments, informing and training employees on the plan offerings, coordinating with the carrier and/or broker, collecting premiums from the employees or company, and ensuring that the bill is paid to the carrier each month.
  • Budget choices. Offering dental insurance means you are spending part of your benefits budget that is now not available for other benefits. In addition to surveying employees to understand what is important to them, it's important to understand the total cost of vision insurance for your company. Then you can choose whether or not to contribute to the monthly premium. There will be indirect costs as well as direct costs, depending on how you set up the plans, so work with the carriers or brokers (more information below). You can learn more through networking with others that you may know, or through groups like the Society for Human Resource Management. Many large insurance groups, like Aetna, Cigna, or United Healthcare, also publish market trends and data.

What Do Dental Insurance Benefits Cover?

Dental insurance coverage is based on the plan you choose. Here are a few typical benefits.

Preventative Care

Most insurance companies cover preventative care at 100%, which means there is no direct cost to individuals for things like dental exams, cleanings, basic X-rays, and more.

Basic Coverage

The specific items that are covered as either basic or major incidents are determined by the carrier, as is the coverage level and cost to the individual. Typically, basic items include dental work like filling cavities or other minor treatments.

Major Coverage

More advanced needs will also be covered to an extent depending on the specific plan. This level typically includes more invasive dental needs like bridges, dentures, and root canals. Not all plans differentiate between basic and major coverage when they are determining the cost to the individuals.


Orthodontic care is a specialized area of dental care that focuses on the alignment of the individual’s teeth and their bite. Not all plans cover orthodontic care, and others vary in how the benefit is structured.

How to Find the Right Dental Insurance Benefits to Offer at Your Company

If you are interested in offering dental insurance for the first time, there are a few things that you should consider.

Tip 1: Identify Your Company’s Needs

Take into account the needs and desires of your organization. What are you hoping to accomplish by offering dental insurance? Do you want a richer benefits package, want to encourage employee wellness, etc.?

Tip 2: Consider the Workforce Demographics

Consider the needs and makeup of your workforce. You may do a survey to understand their needs, or you may be able to make decisions with data from your HR software. Look at items like age, percentage of employees with families, etc. These items can help you determine what the plan should include. For example, families may find orthodontic care to be a priority.

Tip 3: Compare Carriers

Look for dental plan carriers or find a broker to help you find plans. Some carriers for dental insurance include Delta, Aetna, Metlife, and Cigna, but there are several others. If you choose to find your own, don’t hesitate to ask around in your network to learn what others use and how they feel about their providers. An internet search can also help you find popular carriers, ratings, and reviews.

Tip 4: Research Different Plans

Do research on the different plans offered by these carriers and decide how many you are interested in offering. It's most common to give employees a choice between one or two plans; this keeps the administrative burden relatively low while still offering the benefit. Two plans enable the company to offer one enhanced and one basic plan so employees can choose which best fits their needs.
Colleen E. Frislid, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Colleen E. Frislid, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Colleen manages a team of HR consultants that work with a variety of industries, specializing in the fields of human resources, strategic planning, and human capital management. Colleen applies expert knowledge, industry experience, and relentless energy to solving companies’ issues. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management as well as women in leadership groups. She is PHR, SPHR, and SHRM-SCP certified. She has an awesome pet cat, Attila and, when she's not working she loves to travel, enjoy the great outdoors, and volunteer with different local charities.
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