Dental insurance expectations are changing

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Patients are looking for more help understanding and using their dental plans. (Photo: iStock)

Even when they have insurance, 25 percent of consumers have not been to the dentist in the past year for fear of the cost, despite the fact that preventive care is usually fully covered.

Related: Study: One-third of people with dental insurance don’t use it

This is according to a new series of dental research focused on Lincoln Financial Groupwhich also reveals that at least some of the reasons consumers choose and stay with a dentist have nothing to do with actual treatment issues.

Of course, the quality of care, the office environment and being networked for insurance are all crucial factors, other factors push consumers to choose with varying importance from generation to generation. ‘other.

For example, dentists need to be concerned with the quality of their websites, as well as the care they provide. This is especially true for millennials, 40% of whom say a dentist’s website is “very important,” compared to just 14% of baby boomers.

On this website, consumers not only want to see a list of accepted insurers (75%), but they also want to be able to schedule or change appointments (73%) and see the costs of dental procedures (67%). And if that weren’t enough, 77% of millennials say it’s important for a dentist’s website to be mobile-optimized, and 51% say they would find “absolutely” value in a mobile app. from their dentist.

Related: Americans Spend Less Office Time With Dental Problems

Patients also want to be able to schedule immediate appointments – nearly 40% of all consumers want them – and about a third look for a dentist who offers extended hours on weeknights or is available on weekends. The numbers increase even more for millennials, to 46% and 44%, respectively.

Let us return to the small problem of the insured who still do not do prevention: it is a question of education. And consumers don’t just seek this education from the employer who offers them their benefits; they want it from their dentists as well, with 96 percent of those polled saying they would find it helpful if their dental office could provide advice or take the time to help them better understand their dental insurance plan. In fact, 62% say they would find this support “very” valuable.

Ultimately, they don’t necessarily rely on their employers to provide this education. While most agree that dental insurance is a key benefit for employees – 82% cite it as “very important” and 54% as “must” – many lack knowledge about their insurance plans, and only half say their employer is a good resource for understanding what’s covered.

Related: Medicaid Success or Failure on Dental Care

But they don’t let their employers fool around for information on dental care. Sixty-five percent of consumers want their employer to provide general information about what is covered by their dental insurance plan, 54 percent say they would like their employer to provide a list of local dentists in the network, and 34 percent say they would like their employer to provide a list of local dentists in the network. hundred say they would appreciate feedback. or the rankings of dentists in the network.

Employers and dentists will need to improve their game to meet all of these expectations.

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