The most commonly asked questions, answered
It is not easy finding an NHS dentist, as many dentists only operate privately. Even if you do find one, NHS dentists are often overstretched, so may not be taking on new patients, or have a long waiting list even for urgent work. Dental prices, even if using an NHS dentist, can be high for those in work. Less than half the population bother with regular dental check ups. Dental bills are growing, and often seem to come at the worst possible time. Dental insurance covers the cost of dental treatment, check ups and emergency treatment.
Why consider dental insurance?
Dental insurance encourages regular dental attendance that helps employees maintain good oral health. Dental problems can cause unexpected time off work. If an employee has to rely on NHS care they may have to wait a while to get an appointment, and an employee with dental problems may not be able to perform at their maximum, work safely, or be at their best with customers. Many people dislike and put off going to the dentist until it's too late, and anything that helps them get regular checks and treatment helps morale in the workplace.
Benefits for the business:
- Offers a tangible employee benefit.
- Helps attract and retain talented and skilled staff.
- Helps reduce sickness absence.
Benefits for employees
- It's a useful and valuable employee benefit.
- Helps with the cost of everyday healthcare.
- Free and reliable healthcare advice online and on the phone.
Partners and children
Some insurers automatically include partners and children, while others offer it as an extra, while some only offer business cover to those working in the business. If workers are worrying about health problems of their partner or children, then their mind may not be fully on their work. Taking care of their families takes the pressure off.
What business dental insurance covers
There are many variations but the key areas usually include-
- Dental treatment.
- Emergency dental treatment.
- Restorative dental treatment.
- Dental check-ups.
- Cover for mouth cancer.
Cover may be subject to annual limits or limits per type of treatment.
Help and assistance
Most insurers offer 24/7 online and/or telephone information. It is worth checking to see if the advice
is from trained dental nurses or is just a more general helpline. Other services may include-
- Discounts on healthcare, healthy living and shopping.
- Help to find a local dentist or one with a particular specialism.
Many dental plans and policies demand that the individual first goes to their dentist for a check-up. Insurers will then exclude treatment for any problems found. Dental insurance for businesses mostly have no dental checks before joining – and do not ask to see any dental records. They may even cover planned and pending treatment.
Some insurers only cover planned treatment in the UK. As it is up to the individual covered to decide where to get treatment, some insurers allow treatment anywhere in the world, but usually only for emergency treatment and routine check-ups. The insurance does not pay travel or accommodation costs.
Differences in cover
Insurers vary greatly as to what they cover or offer on care. No two policies are the same.
What dental insurance does not cover
Every insurer is different, but key areas that are not covered may include-
- Cosmetic treatment.
- Dental implants.
- Existing mouth cancer.
- Orthodontic treatment.
- Sports injuries unless proper mouth protection is worn.
Choice of dentist - questions to ask
This is key in choosing an insurer and a policy:
- Are employees allowed to use any private dentist?
- Can they seek planned treatment outside the UK?
- Can they use an NHS dentist?
- Is cover restricted just to their normal dentist?
Insurers may include free cover for children under 18. Some insurers will include children in further education up to 25.
Insurers vary as to whether they will cover people up to any age or whether they have restrictions on acceptance age, or even age at which cover ends; common ages are 60, 65 or 70. Some insurers charge more to older people, others do not, and some have very strict limitations on the age groups they will cover.
The difference between a dental plan and dental insurance
Insurers and dentists often use the same terms for very different things, which can be confusing. Dental insurance covers the cost of treatment and dental care. A dental plan covers regular planned dental treatment and care. In practice, the main difference is that most dental insurances allow people to choose any dentist at any time, and perhaps even use NHS dentists; while dental plans are often sold by a dental practice and specify a particular dentist. To ensure you have the cover you require, it is advisable to carefully review the details of any plan or policy.
Cover is often available at different levels, so if money is tight you may want to choose the basic level; you can easily change to a level offering more cover later. The cost can depend on the number of people covered, how much cover is chosen, and the age range of those covered. It is always best to get two or three quotes from different sources, and ask each of them about anything that is unclear.
Helping you choose
There are relatively few insurers offering dental insurance for smaller businesses, and often there is a limited range of products or options. You can go direct, or go via a specialist insurance intermediary, or via a dentist. Some intermediaries charge fees as well as taking commission. Some insurers will deal direct, others will only deal via insurance intermediaries, and others will only deal via dentists. Very few operate via all three channels.