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Dental Coverage: Enhance your Benefit Offering to Attract and Retain Top Talent

Employers continue to struggle to fill open positions, with unemployment rates at an all-time low of 2.2% as report for January 2022.

Finding and keeping top talent is a universal problem among many employers that I talk with. Offering a comprehensive Health Plan to employees is an important part of retaining and attracting top talent. Health Insurance costs can be quite substantial, steering most of the conversation during budget discussions or open enrollment. Often, employers cannot offer the coverage that they want to, simply because the price tag for Health Insurance is so large.

This is where offering other coverage such as Dental Insurance can help fill some of the gaps left in your benefit plan!

High Value for your Benefit Dollar

Dental Insurance continues to be perceived very high with employees. The Met life Benefit Trend Survey finds that in 2021, it was ranked 4th, below Health Insurance, 401K, and leave. Dental Insurance has been in the top 5 over the last 15 years in multiple benefit studies. Employees really want Dental coverage, and to top it off, the cost of dental coverage can be 10-15% of the total cost of Health Insurance. You also probably have employees in your company that are healthy and are not necessarily worried about Health Insurance. These “invisible” employees still value Dental Insurance!

PPO VS HMO? How big of network do your employees want?

The two basic types of dental coverage are DPPO (Dental Preferred Provider Organization) and DHMO (Dental Health Maintenance Organization). Sometimes you can offer both types but should do so carefully. Employees like choice, but too many choices can be confusing, and will lose value.

DPPO: You will have in and out of network coverage. The out of network coverage is paid out on a scheduled basis and may be reduced. Generally, the benefits are paid out as a percentage for specific categories. 100% coverage for Preventive care, 80% Coverage for Basic, etc. You have freedom to go out of network and will still received a comprehensive benefit. This kind of plan can be helpful if you want your employees to have the freedom to go almost anywhere they want to for their dental needs. Many Americans have a harder time changing dentist, than doctors! This type of coverage may be more expensive than DHMO and will have a maximum benefit. Once maximum is reached, the rest is your responsibility.

DHMO: In network coverage will hold most of the value. Generally, if you go out of network in a DHMO, they will pay very little to the provider and you may end up being responsible for a rather large bill. Most of the time the network is smaller. To get the best value and benefit employees should be familiar with the network and check to make sure their dentist is covered with the carrier. Most of the time benefits are paid out on a schedule, based on procedure codes as a copay. Major services usually have a large copay, but some plans offer an unlimited benefit.

Group Paid or Voluntary?

Voluntary coverage would be paid for 100% by the employees, leaving no financial liability to a companies bottom line. Employees will still value the benefit because they may not be able to obtain coverage by themselves. They would still be grateful for the offer.

However, the cost of Dental Insurance is so low, it may be to your advantage to pay at least a portion of the premiums. When at least 50% is paid for the Employee Only coverage, an employer can actually get a better rate – around 8-15% lower!


If your Health Insurance plan is taking a hit and you find yourself increasing deductibles, lowering your contribution, or taking other measures to lower cost, a new Dental Insurance Plan can help balance the perception of your benefit plan. Start a new Dental Plan and pay as much as you can for it.

Example: If you must reduce your cost by $200 per employee per month on your Health Insurance, and then you pay $75 back in Dental benefits you can still save $125 pepm and will be offering a new benefit. This new offer will help take the sting out, and it will balance out the plan especially for those employees that have wanted it.

Can't Offer Health Insurance?

I always say some offer of coverage is better than nothing. Many small employers, including start-ups may not have the budget to pay for Health Insurance. Offering Dental Insurance to start can really help your employees and increase their engagement at work. Start with Dental to get the best value for your benefit dollars and try adding in other coverages to help! Down the road when you have the budget, you can enhance your plan with Health Insurance.

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