Insurance Broker Blog

3 Dental Industry Trends Brokers Should Know and Share with their Groups

The average healthcare cost typically makes up 7.6 percent of a company’s budget. And chances are, the HR manager fought for every penny by using fact-based research in her presentation to senior leadership. So, she needs you to do the same when you meet and make recommendations to her. Know these three industry trends and differentiate yourself as a broker who provides guidance to your groups that are based in research.

1. The Dental Economy is Growing

Over $117 billion was spent on dental care, a slight increase over previous years, per the American Dental Association’s webinar, State of the Dental Market: Outlook 2018. Their data also shows an increase in dental care spending via programs offered through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) (growing from 4 percent in 2000, to 12 percent in 2015). Other stats show that private insurance and consumer out-of-pocket cost each account for 40 percent of dental spending.

So what?

  • Demand for dental care is increasing among consumers.
  • You have an opportunity to connect with the consumers who currently have no coverage and are paying out-of-pocket for dental care.
  • Consumers on Medicaid present a growing opportunity for you to offer supplemental dental benefits.
  • Encourage your groups to include comprehensive dental coverage as part of their benefits package to attract and keep great talent.
2. Increase in Dental Pain Emergency Room Visits

About 2 million consumers with non-traumatic conditions, such as dental pain, visit hospital emergency rooms each year. These visits have increased within the last 10 years. The research has identified that individuals, ages 45 to 64, are four times more likely to end up in the emergency room with tooth pain compared to their younger counterparts, ages 25 to 44 years old.

So what?

  • Partner with dental carriers with plans that offer preventive services for free or at a minimal cost.
  • Stick with carriers that offer dental plans that have no waiting periods, ensuring that members can get the care they need sooner than later.
  • During open enrollment, spell out for employees how using their dental plan for preventive care can help them avoid expensive dental procedures or hospital emergency room visits.
  • Advise your groups’ benefits staff to develop a communication plan reminding employees to get their annual dental checkups and exams on a monthly or quarterly basis.
  • Recommend health fairs and new employee benefits meetings throughout the year to continuously educate employees on their benefits.
 3. Barriers to Dental Care

The point of dental coverage is to remove the cost barrier to dental care for employees. The need for this is supported by the fact that 56 percent of consumers currently state that they don’t visit a dentist because of cost…or their perception that dental care is expensive. The other 29 percent don’t go to the dentist because of fear.

So what?

  • Make a list of common dental procedures that are covered on the dental plan you are recommending and share the cost of each procedure with benefits staff and employees.
  • Utilize plan comparison documents whenever possible to show how affordable your recommended plan is compared to paying for work out-of-pocket or compared to the incumbent fees. The dental carrier should be able to help with this content.
  • Promote the use of in-network providers for cost savings.
  • Work with dental insurance carriers to send out reminders about plan benefits to your groups and encourage them to forward to their employees.

These days, most carriers have a quoting tool that benefits administrators can use to generate quotes. However, you know that a good broker does much more than provide quotes. You help your groups navigate the ever-shifting healthcare landscape through your expert knowledge. You provide guidance based on industry trends and research that helps administrators make the right benefits decisions for their companies and employees.

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