Benefits Basics for Employers: Understanding Health and Dental Plans
Together, health and dental coverages are the most common components of an employee benefits plan. Everyone will have health and dental expenses, and so how they pay for those expenses matters.
Ever needed to fill a prescription for an earache? How about a visit to the dentist because of a sore tooth? Without coverage, you’re out of pocket – your “benefits plan” is cash. A proper employee benefits plan means that employees aren’t out of pocket for these kinds of expenses, and the bulk buying that occurs via benefits plans means that overall healthcare costs are lower.
Let’s take a closer look at health and dental plans and how having one can give you an advantage over your competition.
Extended health plans usually contain several sub-components. These plans typically offer coverage for:
“Paramedical” expenses, with services from health practitioners, like massage therapists, psychologists, physiotherapists, speech therapists, podiatrists, dieticians etc.
Vision coverage, for routine eye exams, glasses, contacts and/or laser eye surgery.
These types of extended health expenses are typically not covered by government health care plans and can really add up. Providing your employees with coverage for these types of expenses can mean a lot to them.
Dental coverage typically looks after routine visits to the dentist. These visits may include dental exams, cleaning, fluoride and x-rays. More comprehensive coverage is often considered “major” procedures and can cover major dental work such as bridges, crowns and implants.
The other part of dental coverage can be orthodontic coverage. This includes coverage for braces, retainers and other teeth straightening procedures.
The Employee Benefits Advantage
Now that you have a better idea of what health and dental coverage looks like, the question is: why would you want to provide it to your employees? What are the “benefits” for you, the employer?
- To attract and retain employees
It’s a competitive world out there, and it can be a challenge to find good employees. Having the right employees is a crucial driver of the success of your company, so attracting the right employees is also crucial. Providing health and dental benefits is a great tool to attract those employees, it’s also a great way to retain them. A recent study says that employee benefits – and for many employees, this means health and dental coverage – is a key factor in staying at their job.
- Tax write off
The cost of sponsoring a health and dental plan is a tax-deductible business expense. It’s a win/win – you’re supporting your employees and you can deduct the cost of the plan from your business income before it’s taxed. Sponsoring a small business health plan could also mean that you and your family’s health and dental expenses would become a tax write-off for your company.
- Morale Booster
Extended health insurance is a great morale booster for your employees. It shows your employees that you care about them and their health. And they’re reminded of it each time they visit the dentist or get a prescription filled!
- Healthy & Productive Employees
One of the biggest benefits of sponsoring health and dental insurance is that it can help keep your employee healthy and productive! This is a benefit to you because it means fewer absences and more productive workers. Without extended health or dental benefits, many people choose to skip routine visits to the dentist, or paramedical services that may prevent an injury or illness from getting worse.
The Cost-Effective Employee Benefits Plans
Health and dental plans don’t have to be expensive. There are a lot of ways to customize the coverage to fit your budget and the needs of your company.
Here are some examples of ways you can impact the cost of the plan, for you the business owner:
Cost-share the plan with your employees
Choose a prescription drug plan that includes a formulary or a central dispensing pharmacy to help contain costs.
Pick and choose what’s covered (for example, removing vision coverage, or no paramedical services without a doctor’s note)
Offer a Health Spending Account (HSA) which provides you with a definitive cost for the plan and employees can use it for eligible health and dental expenses.
From a cost perspective, health and dental insurance can be affordable. It also reaches the widest “audience” among employees: every employee (and their families) will experience a health event.
Smart Plan for Small Business
The Smart Plan for Small Business is meant for businesses that are new to group benefits with 3 or more employees (including you and your family). The Smart Plan for Small Business includes quality benefits that cover the most common needs of employees – the things they need, and the things they want. The core plan includes basics as well as more sought-after benefits such as virtual healthcare (through Akira) and short-term counselling. The best part is that it’s flexible and configurable. You can opt-out of benefits that your employees don’t need, or upgrade to new levels of coverage.
The Smart Plan for Small Business is straightforward. No “insurance talk” – just plain language so you can easily see what you’re signing up for. It’s also competitively priced, with quality benefits. Whichever way you look at it, it’s a great starter package for businesses looking to implement an employee benefits plan at affordable prices.
Good Advice is Key
Health and dental plans are a great way to support your employees, and they have lots of benefits for you, the business owner. Are you interested in learning more about how an employee benefit plan can help take your company to the next level? Review your options with one of our licensed advisors on the phone or in-person or contact us for a comparison quote.