Workplace wellness programs have become a popular and effective way to help employers manage their rising healthcare benefits costs and boost employee productivity. While every company structures their wellness program a little differently to meet the specific needs of its workforce, it’s becoming more common to incorporate an oral health component. Here are the top 3 reasons why:
1. Employees’ Oral Health Impacts the Organization’s Bottom Line
Dental problems have been linked to heart disease, strokes, and diabetes—conditions that are costing the healthcare system and contributing to rising insurance costs. As detailed in Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General, the mouth serves as an early warning system for diseases and can also show signs of general infection and stress: compelling reasons to practice good dental hygiene and get regular check-ups. Consider these statistics:
- If gum disease is found early, there’s an 80% to 90% survival rate for oral cancer patients (The Oral Cancer Foundation)
- More than 164 million work hours and 51 million school hours are lost each year due to dental problems (National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research)
Disease prevention—at the heart of most wellness programs—can lead to long-term cost savings that benefit the company and its employees. In fact, according to PwC’s 2015 Health and Well-being Touchstone Survey, the vast majority (80%) of employers who measure their wellness programs’ ROI have found positive returns.
2. Dental Wellness Enhances a Competitive Employee Benefits Package
Both dental coverage and the availability of wellness programs have become important for recruiting and talent retention. Today’s workers value a comprehensive benefits package: two-thirds of respondents to a 2014 Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) survey consider dental benefits to be very or extremely important. And since rates for dental insurance haven’t climbed at the same rate as those for major medical, dental coverage is a relatively affordable employee benefit to offer. Combining oral health initiatives into a wellness program is a logical—and participant-boosting—strategic move.
3. Wellness Programs Help Make Oral Health A Priority
Wellness programs are designed to motivate employees to adopt healthy behaviors. Including a dental component into the program’s structure and aligning it with the company’s dental insurance plan benefits can help support an organization’s efforts to improve the health and productivity of its workforce. It can even increase overall wellness program participation. By encouraging employees to follow oral health guidelines—and even rewarding them for practicing good oral wellness—employers can maximize their wellness program investment.
Call HealthPlan Services, your Benefits Hub, at 800-545-6441 for a group dental/vision quote tailored to fit your clients’ needs.