By offering medical and dental coverage from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC), you and your employees can reap the rewards of integrated dental health. We'll reach out to your employees to encourage regular dental checkups. Over time, this can lead to:
- Long-term medical savings
- More employees getting preventive care — which helps them avoid serious (and costly) health problems in the future
- Lower health risks — particularly for those with diabetes or heart disease and pregnant women
- Higher productivity and less absenteeism
- Better overall well-being and quality of life
- Greater awareness of dental benefits
Eight out of 10 employers say that integrated employee benefits are more cost-effective in terms of both medical and administrative expense. And when asked which benefits are important for integration, nearly all have dental on their list.2
Each year, the U.S. spends more than $113 billion on costs related to dental care — and loses more than $6 billion in productivity due to employees missing work for dental issues.3 In response, a growing number of employers are now prioritizing good oral health.
Dental is in demand1
|say dental insurance from an employer is “very important”|
|strongly agree that dental insurance is a “must have” from their employer|
Dental health impacts overall health
A nice smile goes far beyond vanity. More than 90% of systemic diseases — like diabetes and high blood pressure — can have symptoms that show up in the mouth.5 So, regular dental checkups can lead to an earlier diagnosis and earlier treatment.
Here are just a few of the reasons why dental health matters.
Protects heart health.
Several studies show that gum disease is associated with heart disease.6 And some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause. Oral bacteria also increases the risk of endocarditis — an infection of the inner lining of the heart.7
Lowers diabetes risks.
People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum disease and other oral problems. In fact, more than 1 out of 5 diabetics have gum disease.8 It’s often more severe and more frequent — and makes it harder to control their blood sugar.7 One large claims-based study found that treating gum disease in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetics saved an average of $1,799 in total health care costs over two years.9
Supports a healthy pregnancy.
Severe gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.7 A 2014 analysis from the March of Dimes found that the average medical cost for a premature and/or low birth weight baby was $55,393. That adds up to $12.7 billion in excess health care costs for employers annually.10
Boosts confidence and self-esteem.
Gum disease can cause bad breath and tooth loss, which affects a person’s self-image and confidence level. One-quarter of adults avoid smiling due to the condition of their teeth — and nearly one-third say life in general is less satisfying for the same reason.11 That’s why good oral health supports a good quality of life.
Take a bite out of cost4
A recent report found that people with heart disease and diabetes who treated their gum disease had:
|lower health care costs|
|fewer hospital stays|
What you can do
Employees look to their company for support and guidance around their dental coverage. Yet only half consider their employer a good resource.1 To help bridge that gap and spur more preventive care, Blue Cross NC developed an integrated dental health campaign.
We reach out to Dental Blue® members with diabetes or heart disease who are overdue for a checkup. They learn about the benefits of good oral health, especially as it relates to their condition. And we prompt them to schedule a preventive exam with their dentist. (If they don’t have a regular dentist, we help them find one with the online tools on our Blue ConnectSM member portal.)
We also provide a print-ready flyer that you can post around the office. It’s a simple way to nudge all employees to get regular dental checkups.
This campaign emphasizes that most Dental Blue plans cover preventive services at 100%.11 That’s because cost perceptions are a common barrier to care. Even among those with dental insurance, 1 in 4 cite cost as the reason they haven’t been to the dentist in the past year.1 So, we want to make sure Dental Blue members know they can get a checkup at little or no cost.
To learn more about our integrated approach to dental health, please reach out to your Blue Cross NC representative. We’ll be happy to help. Until next time, take good care!
|want their employer to provide general information about their dental coverage|
|say their employer is not a good resource for understanding what’s covered under their dental benefits|
Our integrated dental health campaign is one way to bridge that gap!
Looking to add dental coverage?
Your Blue Cross NC representative can walk you through our Dental Blue plan options.
1 “Preventive Dental Benefits Save Employers Money, Studies Find.” Society for Human Resource Management. Online: www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/dental-benefits-save-employers-money.aspx (Accessed May 2018)
2 “Integrated Health Care Report – Edition 2.” Anthem, Inc.: 2017.
3 “Oral Health Basics.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Online: www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/basics/index.html (Accessed May 2018).
4 Jeffcoat, Marjorie K., et al. "Impact of periodontal therapy on general health: Evidence from insurance data for five systemic conditions." American Journal of Preventive Medicine 47.2 (2014): 166-174.
5 “Importance of Oral Health to Overall Health.” Academy of General Dentistry. Online: www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=O&iid=320&aid=1289 (Accessed May 2018).
6 “Gum Disease and Heart Disease.” American Academy of Periodontology. Online: www.perio.org/consumer/gum-disease-and-heart-disease (Accessed May 2018).
7 “Oral health: A window to your overall health.” Mayo Clinic. Online: www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475 (Accessed May 2018).
8 “Diabetes and Your Smile.” American Dental Association. Online: www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/d/diabetes (Accessed May 2018).
9 Nasseh; Kamyar, Marko Vujicic and Michael Glick. "The relationship between periodontal interventions and healthcare costs and utilization. Evidence from an integrated dental, medical, and pharmacy commercial claims database." Health Economics 26.4 (2017): 519-527.
10 “Premature Babies Cost Employers $12.7 Billion Annually.” March of Dimes. Online: www.marchofdimes.org/news/premature-babies-cost-employers-127-billion-annually.aspx (Accessed May 2018).
11 On most standard dental plans and based on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina allowable schedule. Limitations may apply. Members should refer to their benefit booklet for details.