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Bite down on dental plan costs by managing coverage

by on
in HR Management,Human Resources

You’re already managing your organization’s ever-growing expenditures for medical and prescription drug coverage. Now it’s time to manage the cost of dental coverage.

Dental coverage is, after all, the third most-used health care coverage after medical and prescription drug coverage.

A new report from The Segal Co., an HR consulting firm, offers six ways your organization can curb spending on dental coverage.

1. Update what you cover. Your plan should cover the most up-to-date procedures so your employees can get coverage for the treatment they need. Tip: Limit your coverage to the least expensive alternative treatment when more than one remedy is available for a particular dental problem.

2. Offer a dental network, such as a dental maintenance organization (DMO) or dental provider organization (DPO). Dentists in these networks charge discounted prices, yet the Segal survey found that just 54% of organizations offering dental coverage have DMO or DPO options.

3. Lease a dental network.
If you want to self-administer your dental coverage, find an insurance company that gives you a good deal on a lease.

4. Convert to a self-insured plan. You could benefit from improved cash flow when claims are low, as well as reduced administration fees, and fewer insurance premium taxes and state mandates.

5. Update the schedule if you use a scheduled plan.
Craft a schedule that provides a fixed maximum dollar coverage for dental expenses. If you don’t regularly exclude outdated procedures, dentists can overcharge for performing them. And if you don’t add new procedures, your employees won’t have access to them. Likewise, if your dollar amounts are too low, employees might have to pay more out of pocket than they’re willing to—which could lead to missed treatments and expensive dental surgeries down the road.

6. Analyze your health plan’s dental claims for clues about which kinds of preventive treatments would save your employees from costly dental problems later. Then add those treatments to your list of covered items.

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