Choosing the right dental insurance plan for your employees

Selecting the right dental insurance plan for your employees is a critical decision that can impact their overall well-being and job satisfaction. A staggering 92% of adults surveyed feel their oral health is very, if not extremely, important to their overall health.

Dental health is a fundamental part of one's overall health, and offering the right coverage demonstrates your commitment to your team's needs. In this guide, we'll provide you with valuable tips and considerations to help you navigate the process of choosing dental insurance plans that cater to different employee needs.

Understand your workforce

Before diving into the selection process, take the time to understand the diverse needs of your workforce. Consider factors such as age, family status, and dental health history. Different employees may have varying requirements when it comes to dental coverage. For instance:

Young professionals

They may prioritize preventive care, such as regular check-ups and cleanings.


Employees with families may require coverage for orthodontic care and pediatric dental services.


Older employees might need more extensive coverage for treatments involving age-related dental issues.

Evaluate plan types

Dental insurance plans come in various types, each with its own set of features and costs. Here are some common plan types to consider:

  • Preferred Provider Organizations (PPO): PPO plans for dental care are designed to give your employees access to a network of dentists who offer discounted rates on covered services. This means that if they choose an in-network dentist, they'll pay the lowest out-of-pocket costs. The amount they do have to pay is a percentage of the reduced fee, called coinsurance, and the plan takes care of the rest.
  • Dental Health Maintenance Organization (DHMO): With a DHMO, your employees get affordable coverage that emphasizes preventive care. To access the benefits, they must stick to in-network dentists, although there might be cases where they can choose an out-of-network provider at a reduced coverage rate. Keep in mind that the network for DHMO plans may not be as extensive as with a PPO, but the premium is much more wallet-friendly and offers greater potential for savings.
  • Discount Plans: Discount plans are another option for saving money on dental care. With these plans, employees get to choose from a group of dentists who offer reduced fees for their services. They simply pay the dentist directly at the time of your treatment without any hassle of paperwork. Plus, discount plans usually have lower premiums compared to PPO and Managed Fee-for-Service Plans. 
  • Managed Fee-for-Service Plans: Managed Fee-for-Service Plans, also known as Indemnity or Traditional Plans, offer a lot of options when it comes to dental providers. They have a big network to choose from. Just like PPO plans, employees will pay a percentage for each service from an in-network dentist (called coinsurance), and the plan will cover the rest. The specific percentage will depend on the service.

Consider cost and affordability

Balancing coverage with cost is a crucial aspect of choosing the right dental insurance plan. Evaluate the following cost-related factors:

  1. Premiums: The monthly cost for the plan, which varies based on the level of coverage.
  2. Deductibles: The amount employees must pay out of pocket before insurance coverage kicks in.
  3. Co-Payments and Co-Insurance: The percentage of costs that employees must share with the insurance provider.
  4. Annual Maximums: The maximum amount the insurance will pay for dental services within a year.
  5. Orthodontic Coverage: If applicable, consider how orthodontic coverage is structured, as this can be a significant factor for families.

Examine the network of dentists

Examine the network of dentists associated with the insurance plan. A broad network offers more choices for employees, making it easier for them to access care. Ensure that the plan includes dentists and specialists in your employees' area or preferred locations. Do you have employees in different states or employees that regularly travel? Consider selecting a dental plan that offers a large network with a variety of provider choices. Delta Dental's Find a Dentist tool allows you to easily search for Delta Dental's in-network providers in your area.

Review coverage options

Customization is key when choosing dental insurance plans. Look for options that allow employees to select coverage that aligns with their specific needs. Dental insurance plans usually follow a 100-80-50 structure that focuses on preventive care and cost-sharing for other procedures. Here's what you can typically expect dental insurance to cover:

  • 100% coverage for routine preventive and diagnostic care, like cleanings and exams.
  • 80% coverage for basic procedures, such as fillings, root canals, and tooth extractions.
  • 50% coverage for major procedures like crowns, bridges, and implants.

Just a heads up, your employees might have to pay a deductible before their dental insurance covers certain services. However, this is typically not required for preventive and diagnostic treatments.

Offer employee education

Finally, invest in employee education about the dental insurance options you provide. Hold informational sessions or provide resources that help employees understand the details of each plan, including coverage, costs, and how to use their benefits effectively. Investing in employee education about dental insurance options is crucial for their understanding and effective utilization of the benefits. Holding informational sessions or providing resources can go a long way in helping employees grasp the details of each plan, such as coverage, costs, and how to make the most of their benefits. By providing this education, you empower your employees to make informed decisions about their dental health and maximize the value they receive from their insurance plans.

Final Thoughts: Choosing the right dental insurance plan for your employees

Choosing the right dental insurance plan for your employees involves a thorough understanding of their diverse needs, careful evaluation of plan types and costs, and consideration of network options and coverage customization. By offering dental insurance that caters to different employee needs, you not only enhance their well-being but also strengthen your position as an employer committed to providing comprehensive benefits that meet your team's expectations.

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