Managing insurance for employees in different states can get a little confusing at times. If your organization has remote staff spread out across the country (or world), there are a few things you should consider when building a dental benefits package.
It’s certainly possible—and definitely advisable—to offer dental insurance to everyone, even out-of-state employees. If you’re tasked with weighing the viability of such an arrangement for your organization, you’ll just need to do a little extra research.
Yes, Dental Plans Are Worthwhile
First, you may be wondering if all of this work to ensure remote employees can participate in your dental plan is even worth it. The answer is a resounding “yes!” According to the American Dental Association, when employer groups spend 39 percent more on preventive dental care over six years, they spend 86 percent less on major and restorative dental services. In addition, preventive dental care can help employees be healthier overall.
Dental insurance also just happens to be rated as one of the most popular voluntary benefits for employees. With a good dental plan, your organization can retain more employees and attract more top talent in the long run.
Don’t Assume the Plans Will Work
It’s important not to assume the plan that your company currently offers will work for every employee, no matter where they live. Sit down with your health care broker and find out if the dental plan on offer is a multi-state plan that works across state lines.
If it doesn’t, then you may need to give employees a choice between a local plan and a multi-state plan—but remember, multi-state plans may have higher premiums. If that’s the case, and you only have employees located in a couple different states, then you might also want to consider offering a variety of state-specific plans. This way, everyone’s covered.
Consider Network Size and Cost
When choosing the plans that will be available to your remote colleagues, don’t forget to review each plan’s network size. You want to offer plans with large networks, so employees can stay with their preferred provider or switch dentists easily. Some multi-state plans may have a large network in your company’s state but a small network in a remote employee’s state, so keep an eye out for that.
Keep costs in mind, too! Dental expenses can quickly accumulate, especially if a plan only covers preventive services. So look for plans that cover basic and major dental work, not just routine cleanings and yearly X-rays. Also, seek out plans that don’t count preventive appointments toward the annual maximum, as this is sometimes unpopular with employees.
Finally, ask your broker about customizable dental plans. Some remote employees may need more extensive plans than others, especially if they have existing dental problems like old root canals or veneers. If you offer customizable plans, then employees can choose to spend a little more if they want additional coverage or add-ons.
Make Sure Remote Employees Are Well-Informed
Remote employees won’t be attending all of your organization’s health care meetings, so keep them well-informed about any dental option changes. You should consider providing a yearly “benefits guide” package that includes summaries of all available plans, including health, life, dental and supplemental options.
Download any Summary of Benefits pages from the company’s dental plan options and make them available to remote employees so they can make informed decisions. Lastly, talk to your health broker (or HR manager) about being available for one-on-one video meetings to answer any questions your remote employees may have.
Helping remote employees have access to a good dental health plan requires a little extra research, but it’s really not that complicated. And in the long run, the extra work spent managing insurance for employees in different states will be worthwhile in terms of improved health, morale and retaining top talent.
Looking to compare and contrast different dental benefit plans to see what suits your coworkers best? Check out the Dental Plan Navigator on United Concordia Dental’s website.