More Group Plans Allow Rollover of Dental Benefits
An increased number of insurers have begun to offer group dental plans that allow members to roll over their unused maximum treatment limits to subsequent years, although some require members to visit the dentist annually or more often for preventive care, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The plans allow members to roll over a percentage of their unused maximum treatment limits -- which range from $500 to $2,000 in most cases -- to subsequent years, with the amount of the percentage determined by the insurers. Some of the plans cap the number of years in which members can roll over their unused maximum treatment limits to three or four, and some cap the maximum dollar amount that members can roll over.
According to insurers, the plans seek to encourage members to visit the dentist on a regular basis for preventive care to prevent tooth decay and gum disease -- which studies have linked with diabetes, heart disease and premature birth -- and reduce overall medical costs. The plans, which cost employers only 0% to 5% more than traditional plans, also encourage low-risk members not to drop their dental plans, a move that would leave a larger percentage of high-risk members and increase costs for those who remain in the plans, according to insurers.
Ameritas Life Insurance, Cigna, Guardian Life Insurance, Starmount Life Insurance and UnitedHealth Group have begun to offer the plans.
James Fuhrman, executive vice president for UnitedHealthcare Dental, said, "It's a way to encourage prudent dental care and reward people who do preventative care on a regular basis" (McQueen, Wall Street Journal, 5/22).