If your employees aren’t utilizing the dental benefits your company offers, they may be getting their oral problems taken care of in a much more expensive manner.
Reason: An alarming number of people are making trips to the emergency room – for help with their dental problems.
The Pew Center on the States analyzed hospital data from 24 states, info from the Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and dental care studies, and the picture it painted wasn’t pretty.
Overall, emergency room visits for dental issues jumped 16% between 2006 and 2009. And that’s a trend that doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.
Like all unnecessary ER visits, the costs associated with these is staggering. Example: Florida racked up $88 million in ER dental visits in 2010 alone.
Plus, ER visits are little more than a temporary fix to individual’s oral problems. When workers run to the ER for dental issues, it’s a huge problem for a number of reasons.
It can be more than 10 times more costly for employers when people opt for care in an ER, instead of a dentist’s office where preventive care costs around $50 to $100 per visit.
What’s worse, because ER’s aren’t staffed with actual dentists, all patients usually get in terms of care is painkillers and medicine for infected gums. This approach leads to long-term problems and recurring ER visits.
What you can do: To make sure employees are getting the most out of their dental benefits, it’s a good idea to hold education session that focus exclusively on dental care several times throughout the year.
Also, remind staffers about some of the lesser-known benefits of dental care. Example: Regular dentist visits can help uncover other health issues – like heart disease.