Navigating Benefits

National Safety Month 2017—Managing Dental Accidents

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Posted by June 28, 2017

If an employee has a serious dental accident, like a broken tooth, they need to move quickly to repair the damage. Otherwise, not only will the treatment be more expensive, it can create permanent damage to their smile. For National Safety Month 2017, we’re looking at how you can assist employees when they have a dental emergency.

How Dental Insurance Covers Emergencies

Dental insurance does offer coverage for urgent care but the total amount depends on the plan. Most plans do not cover 100 percent of emergency treatments like crowns or bridges. Also, dental insurance usually has a maximum coverage amount.

Inform your employees that they may have some out-of-pocket expenses after an emergency. Still, it will be less than if they did not have insurance.

Getting Care

If your employees have a problem during the day, when their regular dentist is working, they can go see them. If they have a problem outside of regular working hours, employees can go see any dentist to receive treatment. Remind employees that if your plan has a dentist network, they will pay less out-of-pocket for seeing an in-network dentist for the emergency treatment.

Helping Employees Without Insurance

If an employee does not have dental insurance, they should still seek out care as soon as possible. Getting treated quickly will give them more treatment options and could lower their long-term costs compared to if they wait and the problem gets worse.

If the employee had an accident at work, their dental care may be covered under Worker’s Compensation insurance. If the accident happened outside of work, some of the care may be covered under their health insurance plan. For example, if an employee breaks their jaw in a car accident and needs jaw surgery, the health insurance would cover the surgery.

However, the employee would probably need further dental work to repair their teeth and this would not be covered by health insurance.

Possible Solutions

Unfortunately, there is no way to get dental insurance immediately to cover an accident. Employees must be insured to be covered for a dental emergency. If they do not have insurance, they will need to pay for treatment out-of-pocket.

For less-expensive care, you could research a list of dentists who accept patients without insurance because they typically charge less. If there is a dental school in your area, this is another way to get low-cost treatment. The students are closely supervised by a professional so your employees still get quality care at a lower price.

Increasing Insurance Enrollment

You should let employees know that if they do not have dental insurance, there is a good chance they will have to pay for dental accidents all on their own. Point out that replacing just one tooth with an implant can cost $1,500 or more. With dental insurance, at least some of the treatment is covered.

If employees do not want to sign up for full dental insurance, suggest they sign up for a dental savings plan instead. This way they can get a discount for treatment. This plan doesn’t cost as much as a full dental insurance but would help lower costs after a dental accident.

Preparing For Dental Accidents

You should make a list of local dentists who handle urgent care at night as well affordable no-insurance dentists in your area. Give your employees this list. That way if there is ever an accident at work or outside work, employees know where to get care.

You should perform regular inspections to watch out for safety risks. OSHA publishes a list of the top 10 safety violations. If you need help creating a safe workplace, OSHA also offers a free inspection for small and medium-sized businesses. By creating a safer workplace, you can prevent dental emergencies and other injuries.

National Safety Month 2017 is all about keeping your employees safe. We hope your employees never face a dental emergency but with this information, they will know what to do when one happens.

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