Employee Benefits

Dental and Vision Insurance Benefits for Essential Workers

Young girl delivering groceries to an elderly man.

Essential workers are heroes in many American cities. They hold a variety of positions in critical businesses deemed necessary to keep communities running. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many essential workers put their lives at risk every day to serve the public. They deserve medical coverage and health benefits like dental and vision insurance to keep them healthy and on the job.

Essential for health

The government has designated key service areas as essential, including health care, schools and universities, municipalities, food service and retail. While employees in these industries highly value medical coverage, they especially look for dental and vision insurance in their benefits packages. These plans provide security and help ease the stress created during uncertain times.

Research shows that dentists and eye doctors can detect health problems during dental and vision checkups, such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Identifying these medical conditions at an early stage can help avoid expensive procedures that can harm essential workers’ budgets and livelihoods.

Plan differences

Every dental and vision insurance plan covers procedures differently. It is important to carefully review benefit information to ensure employees get the coverage they need. Here are three things to check in the plan details.

  1. Coverage and costs

    Most plans cover most, if not all, of the cost for preventive checkups. Other procedures and services may be covered at different levels.

  1. In-network vs. out-of-network

    Plans typically contract with providers who accept a set payment for services. With an Ameritas dental plan, essential workers can visit any dentist they choose, in-network or out-of-network. Family members do not need to visit the same provider. However, the Ameritas Dental Network is considered one of the largest in the country, and includes providers in Mexico.

  1. Network savings

    Plan members usually spend less on dental or vision coverage costs when they visit a network provider. For example, Ameritas Dental Network providers agree to charge 25% to 50% less than their regular rates. Plus, the insurance claims are filed by the provider, so the member does not have to submit paperwork for payment. This provides additional peace of mind, making sure claims are processed and paid.

Custom options

Essential workers appreciate having insurance benefit choices. Some companies, such as Ameritas, offer customized plans with various options to make benefits affordable for small businesses and large employers alike.

For dental plans, employers may want plans with network savings, rewards, incentives to earn increased benefits, or the option to offer multiple plans in one contract. Vision coverage choices include using a network eye doctor or a no-network plan.

Insurance carriers also may offer additional perks with their dental and vision plans. These could include discounts on prescription drugs, LASIK vision correction, prescription eyeglasses and hearing aids.

Some employers do not have the budget to cover dental and vision insurance premiums. However, it is possible to offer essential workers access to coverage. Individual dental and vision insurance plans are a great way to offer affordable options for essential team members.

Benefits made easy

Benefits enrollment and administration of plans should be easy for employers. Check if the insurance carrier has seamless and secure data connections for benefits administration. These electronic systems reduce the work of manually enrolling employees in benefits. It makes a time-consuming job faster and more accurate.

Assistance with benefits communication

Insurance carriers should offer resources to help employers with benefits communication during enrollment and throughout the year. These resources can include plan brochures, videos explaining benefit plans and details, frequently asked questions, microsites for specific needs, and personalized content to add to employers’ websites. Review four tips for selecting and communicating employee benefits.

Any worker can find insurance plans confusing. And because employee benefits can change each year, workers need to understand their coverage options. Employers can help essential workers understand their benefits, so they can choose the right plans.