It's obviously easier to recruit and keep good part-time or entry-level employees if you offer some type of health benefit. That's why more employers are turning to the growing number of low-cost dental discount plans available from big health insurers.
Discount dental programs aren't insurance; they're pay-as-you-go plans that give discounts of 15 percent to 60 percent on services. For employers, the plans are inexpensive and carry no financial risk. How it works: Businesses send a list of employees and receive ID cards in the mail for each worker. When employees visit a participant dentist, they show their cards and pay in cash after receiving services to get the discount.
There are no claims, paperwork, deductibles, co-pays or limitations on pre-existing conditions or number of visits. The plans use dentists already in the insurers' networks.
To search and compare costs of more than 30 national and regional discount dental plans, go to www.dentalplans.com. Some leading vendors:
CignaPlus Savings saves an average of 32 percent on services and provides access to more than 64,000 dentists. Go to www.cigna.com/health/provider/dental.
Aetna Dental Access saves 30 percent to 50 percent on services from more than 61,000 dentists. Premiums: $100 for individuals, $150 for families. Go to www.healthcareplus.us/aetnadentalaccess.htm.
GE Wellness Plan (dental only) provides an average discount of 30 percent. Cost: $140 for individuals, $190 for families. Go to: www.gewellnessplan.com.