Do Employee Benefits Plans Cover Dental and Vision?

Friday, March 15, 2024 12:44 Posted by Admin

Despite some resistance by employers, more and more companies are seeing the benefits of offering dental and vision care to employees. In addition, with more employees working from home, health and wellness are taking on a new perspective regarding health benefits, productivity, and the employer’s ability to offer competitive employee benefit packages.

Dental and Vision Benefits Availability

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 40% of private industry employees had access to dental care, while only 28% had access to vision care benefits in 2021. However, research shows employees want dental and vision care benefits and the necessary health plan basics for some significant reasons.

The problem is dental and vision care are not mandated benefits, and employers don’t see a clear ROI. As a result, companies could be missing out on a big competitive advantage.

Mandatory vs. Optional Employee Health Benefits

Unlike federally mandated benefits plans (Medicare, workers compensation, unemployment insurance, etc.), businesses are not obliged to offer dental and vision care benefits. However, in today’s competitive job market, more employers offer or are planning to provide dental and vision care benefits, not because they need to, but because it makes practical business sense.

Do Employees Want Dental And Vision Care?

What’s important to note is the growing interest by employees in these additional optional health benefits. It’s partly due to the impact of Covid 19 and growing nervousness about financial stability and the future.

Research by MetLife shows dental and vision care are the fourth and fifth benefits of most interest to employees after health benefits, 401(k)s and paid/unpaid leave. Employees see dental insurance as a must-have (70%) or a nice-to-have (25%). Likewise, employees view vision care as a must-have (67%) or a nice-to-have (25%).

Also on the must-have benefits radar for employees are life insurance (61%), disability insurance (51%), health savings accounts (46%), critical illness (44%), flex spending accounts (42%), accident insurance (42%), financial wellness (38%), hospital indemnity (38%), cancer insurance (35%), home insurance (32%), auto insurance (32%) and legal services (32%).

Given the employee’s interest in these benefits, that’s a compelling reason for employers to take a closer look at vision and dental plans for employees.

Employer Perspectives on Dental and Vision Care Benefits

When it comes to dental and vision care benefits, there may not be as big a gap between employers and employees at first glance.

What Employers Say About Dental Benefits

According to the Dental Economics newsletter, employers see value in dental plans, but they want affordable, easy to manage, high-quality dental benefits programs.

The research showed the biggest employer barriers to offering dental plans included:

  • not a priority for employees (39%)
  • not affordable for the company (36%)
  • poor value for the company (33%)
  • haven’t thought about it (29%)
  • not a priority for our company (27%)
  • not good value for employees (26%).

Overall, 82% of small businesses that do not currently offer a group dental plan intend to do so in the future. But, there is a difference between white-collar companies (62%) and blue-collar firms (90%). We suspect employers have similar views on the barriers to offering vision benefits.

What Employers Say About Vision Care Benefits

Are employers shortsighted about vision care benefits? Many vision care plans limit benefits to a simple eye exam and a small reimbursement of prescription glasses every several years.

Employee Benefits News reports there are clear benefits to including better vision care benefits for employees:

  • 87% of employees would be more likely to remain at a company with high-quality vision care benefits
  • prescription lenses are expensive
  • only 25% of employees take advantage of free annual vision exams
  • digital eye strain is growing and hurts productivity
  • poor vision may be an employee health and business workplace risk.

Companies see a seven-dollar return for every dollar invested in vision care by improving vision plans which may add up to $2,700 per employee. Including access to prescription glasses and contact lenses, annual eye checkups, virtual eye exams, elective classes and other benefits may provide a surprising return on your investment.

Why Offer Employees Dental and Vision Benefits?

Let’s look at the potential advantages of offering dental and vision benefits to your employees:

  1. dental health and preventive care improves overall health and reduces sick time
  2. vision care provides both health and safety benefits for employees and the company
  3. a dental and vision benefits plan shows the company cares for its employees and also helps retain and recruit employees
  4. a well-designed benefits plan may cost the company less than you think, and for small businesses, there may be tax credits and grants available as well.

Ready to Talk About the Benefits of Dental and Vision Care?

Many employers are beginning to see the potential group employee benefits of adding dental and vision care. Let Taylor Benefits help you design a cost-effective program, improve employee health, be attractive to your employees, and provide a competitive business advantage. We’re easy to reach through our website or by phone.

Written by Todd Taylor

Todd Taylor

Todd Taylor oversees most of the marketing and client administration for the agency with help of an incredible team. Todd is a seasoned benefits insurance broker with over 35 years of industry experience. As the Founder and CEO of Taylor Benefits Insurance Agency, Inc., he provides strategic consultations and high-quality support to ensure his clients’ competitive position in the market.

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