As a former benefits consultant and small business owner, I understand how difficult it can be for small employers to balance the desire to provide exceptional benefits (like dental and vision insurance) and perks that attract and retain top talent with the need to protect the bottom line.
And navigating the ever-growing list of perks to provide employees is a daunting task itself. What benefits do my employees want? Medical? Dental? Vision? Pet? Disability? Gym stipends?
While unlimited PTO and animal-friendly offices are trendy, behind health insurance, dental and vision benefits are employees’ top priority.
So, how do you choose the right dental and vision insurance for your small business? Here’s what to consider:
If you’re self-employed: If you are a freelancer or entrepreneur, individual or family dental and vision insurance is likely the best choice. You can research plan options on Healthcare.gov. Delta Dental of Arizona also offers a variety of individual and family dental and vision plans to meet your unique needs and budget.
If you have 2-24 employees: Delta Dental of Arizona offers dental and vision plans specifically designed for the needs of small business owners. Our plans cover preventive care at 100% and include options for child orthodontics, tooth-colored fillings on all teeth and even a free pair of designer sunglasses with our One & Sun™ program. Reach out to our Small Business Sales Team directly or ask your broker for information on our small business dental and vision plans. You can also search the public health exchange, also known as the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP), to find insurance options for your small business. As a third option, you could consider buying dental and vision benefits through a private health exchange. Private health exchanges are often run by insurance brokerages, which means buyers and sellers work together to create efficiency.
If you have 25+ employees: Delta Dental of Arizona can create a dental and vision benefits package that leverages our PPO and Premier networks for maximum savings. Reach out to our sales team directly or ask your broker for information on Delta Dental plans. You can also look at options available via the ACA’s Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) or through a private health exchange.
Dental & Vision Insurance Funding
How much will you contribute toward the employee’s monthly dental and vision premium? While there are companies that offer 100% employer-paid dental and vision benefits, an increasing number of businesses are shifting all or a portion of the cost to employees. This can allow employers to save money while offering a comprehensive benefits package. However, it’s important to note that dental and vision plan rates are often lower when the employer pays a certain portion of the premium for employees.
Premiums vs. Deductibles vs. Annual Maximum
A premium is the monthly amount the dental insurer charges to keep the dental policy in force. The deductible is the amount the employee pays on any given claim before the insurance company pays for all or a portion of the claims costs. Deductibles vary, but plans with lower premiums typically have higher deductibles.
Annual maximums are the maximum dollar amount a dental plan will pay toward the cost of dental care within a benefit year. As a rule of thumb, the higher the annual maximum, the higher the premium.
It’s important to consider the age and health habits of your workforce, as different demographics have different oral health and vision health needs. Depending on the age of your staff, you can decrease the premium by offering a plan with limited benefits, a lower annual maximum or a higher deductible.
No matter which route you choose, encourage your team to use their preventive benefits. It will improve their health and reduce claims costs.
Have more questions about dental insurance for small businesses? Contact us!
Editors Note: This post was originally published July 2017. The content was revised and updated October 2023.