When choosing which benefits your business will offer to offset employee expenses, finding a balance between coverage and affordability is essential for any organization. While expecting certain benefits is almost a given, employers may see others as impractical luxuries. Although it can be tempting to exclude “extras” like dental coverage, it’s important to understand all sides of the need-versus-luxury equation.
Certainly, avoiding overspending on benefits is an important consideration. Still, many employers need to understand the potential advantages that offering more robust coverage can bring. For instance, let’s look at the pros and cons of offering dental care to employees.
Types of Dental Coverage
Before you can establish whether or not to offer dental benefits, you must review the options available. Generally, you can purchase three basic levels of dental coverage for your employees. The best option for you depends on your budget and the unique needs of your employees.
- Basic and Preventative: These plans include treatments considered fundamental to oral health, such as cleaning, fillings, and X-rays.
- Major and Restorative: Moving to the next level brings coverage for other, more intensive treatments. Major and restorative coverage usually includes procedures like caps and crowns.
- Orthodontics: The most comprehensive (but least common) plans extend to orthodontics. When offered, these benefits usually have a 50% deductible and a cap on benefits payable.
Dental vs. Prescription Coverage
While these three levels provide you with a range to choose from, you may still be hesitant to choose dental coverage over other, more “essential” options like drug coverage. But, despite being considered one of the most basic forms of supplemental benefits, drug coverage can also be one of the most draining on your company’s finances.
Chronic illness medications, in particular, are a major cost driver. Innovative Medicines Canada found that chronic disease medications accounted for 83.7% percent of drug plan cost increases in 2021-2022.
Not only does this place a significant burden on the rest of your employees, but offering this type of drug coverage is often largely unnecessary for Canadian employers. Unlike dental coverage, some form of extended health benefits is a nearly universal standard of coverage for employers in Canada. This means that your employees can access the drugs they need — even if you do not cover them, and no matter what your company’s plan is.
Likewise, new legislation in Ontario and other provinces has made getting prescriptions even easier in 2023 than ever before.
The Value of Dental Coverage
Even though federal and provincial laws cover many basic health costs, more than 90% of Canadian employers still offer some form of employee extended health care benefits to supplement the government health insurance. But dental coverage is far less common.
A recent report found that nearly one-third of Canadians did not receive dental insurance from any source, neither from their employers nor from an independent insurance provider. The number climbs even higher in lower income brackets, with half of lower-income Canadians not having any sort of dental coverage.
This statistic may make it seem like dental coverage is a luxury rather than an essential part of employee benefits plans. However, it actually means that employers offering some form of dental coverage are at a significant advantage compared to those that do not.
In addition to attracting new talent and retaining existing staff, employees are considerably more productive when you invest in their oral health. A 2017 report estimated that 4.15 million working days were lost annually due to dental visits or dental sick days in Canada alone, many of which may have been averted if staff had access to preventative dental care.
Adding benefits like dental coverage can also boost employee satisfaction and increase morale. Plus, studies have shown that satisfied employees can be up to 20% more productive — so it’s in your best interest to offer benefits that will keep them happy.
Creating the Perfect Employee Benefits Plan with Zarmac
Zarmac Benefits has been providing benefit programs to both new and established businesses for over 20 years. We take the time to analyze what you need and customize a benefits package specifically for your business style, now and for the future.
Zarmac provides substantial analysis specific to your business to deliver real choices, advise on trends, streamline renewals, and optimize your plan design. We make it easy for you and your team by supporting the management of your program. We also proactively educate and eliminate questions to ensure there are no surprises.
Ready to protect your business and your team? Find out more about the Zarmac difference!