DENTAL COVERAGE: Program Enables Small Businesses to Offer Benefits
With employees enrolling at a rate of 3,000 per month, more California small businesses are offering employees dental benefits through Small Business Advantage (SBA), a program that allows businesses with 5 to 99 employees to choose from fee-for-service, HMO or PPO dental coverage offered through Dental Plan of California. "The ball is really rolling now with SBA because it satisfies an unfulfilled niche in the benefits marketplace -- one where affordable dental coverage previously was unavailable or difficult to obtain," said Fred Mylius, Delta's senior vice president and general manager of California's commercial business. While small employers were generally closed out of dental coverage due to its high administrative costs and low operating margins, Lynette Crosby, Delta's director of product marketing and development, notes that a "solid network of general agents" cuts down on marketing and administrative costs. A national survey, conducted by Foster Higgins, reports that only 63% of businesses with 50 to 199 employees and only 39% of employers with fewer than 49 employees offer dental benefits -- well below the 90% of larger employers who offer dental coverage (Delta Dental Plan release, 5/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.