Employee benefits offering access to dental care, and support with payments, are likely to become far more popular following the coronavirus pandemic, according to Towergate Health & Protection.
It points out that there is likely to be a significant backlog of people needing dental treatment, as a result of the vast majority of dental services being closed during the economic lockdown.
However, it adds that the cost of routine dental treatments may increase, with dentist looking to recoup the cost of additional spend on Covid-19 infection control, and the fact they may not be able to see as many patients as before.
Towergate Health & Protection director Brett Hill says: “With most dentists forced to shut due to Covid-19, only treating or referring urgent cases, businesses and employees alike will want to get back on track with dental care now that surgeries are gradually reopening.
“With access to NHS dentistry about to become more difficult than ever, and costs for private dentistry expected to rise, we are likely to see an increase in businesses investigating options available to support staff with their dental health, such as providing greater financial support for check-ups and treatment.”
Hill points out that employee benefits can help with these additional costs. Some private medical insurance will also provide some dental cover and related benefits.
Towergate adds that employers will also be keen for those staff suffering with non-urgent requirements to be treated as soon as possible, for their personal wellbeing, and to return to work more quickly and comfortably.
As dentists work through the lockdown-induced backlog, demand for services may outstrip supply – so delays are to be expected. Waiting for slots to become available, the increased time required to physically attend appointments, and inability to work because of dental health issues can increase dentistry-related absence; but benefits can help with affordability if treatment is required – potentially preventing further delays from returning to work.
Hill adds: “Employers will be very aware of the health concerns their staff may have faced during lockdown and will be eager to support them as restrictions are being lifted.
“By providing benefits, such as dental insurance or health care cash plans, businesses can support employees with getting their health back on track – in turn, potentially improving wellbeing and absence.”