Evaluating a dental carrier: What to look for

Posted on May 23, 2018 in Dental benefit information

Whether you're looking to select dental coverage for a company or yourself, finding the right dental benefits carrier is essential to receiving quality dental care while also keeping costs manageable.

For businesses, offering dental coverage can go a long way toward employee satisfaction. In fact, more than two-thirds of employees consider dental benefits to be an extremely or very important part of an overall compensation package.1 For individuals looking to purchase a dental plan on their own, dental coverage helps make dental care more affordable by sharing the cost and reducing what you pay out-of-pocket.

Brush up on which aspects are most important when evaluating a dental benefits carrier with our quick guide below.


Network coverage is key to keeping out-of-pocket costs low. A larger network means more in-network dentists to choose from. For companies, it also means that the dentists your employees currently visit will likely be in-network.

Visiting in-network dentists saves money for both individuals and employers. It protects individual members or employees from balance billing and saves money on claims, which typically account for the majority of an employer's expense.

Cost management

The true cost of a plan extends beyond premiums. For businesses looking for a dental plan, it's important to evaluate the provider's cost-containment strategies, cost-management history, fee arrangements with dentists and effective discounts delivered to all members.

Long-term costs for both individuals and employers can be reduced with preventive care like regular dental exams and cleanings that help members avoid costly procedures down the road. Most Delta Dental of Illinois dental plans cover preventive care at 100%.

Cost transparency

Employers that are looking for dental coverage for their employees should make sure the carrier delivers cost transparency and data on actual costs and benefits. This can often be lost when bundling medical and dental coverage where the only cost noted is a single premium.


Knowing that your questions and issues will be addressed in a timely matter will help you feel confident and satisfied with your coverage decision. Being able to reach a local representative and easily use the carrier's website can improve efficiency, flexibility, transparency and the claims process.

Enhanced benefits

Some dental carriers have plans that include enhanced benefits, like additional exams and cleanings, at little or no cost to those with certain medical conditions or special needs who might benefit from additional oral health care. Enhanced benefits may be available for pregnant women and those with diabetes, suppressed immune systems and other systemic conditions.

Dental benefits expertise

Look for a carrier that uses credible, evidence-based data to shape coverage options and has a proven track record of supplying high-quality benefits.

By knowing what to look for when selecting a dental benefits carrier, you can select a dental plan that meets your needs. Talk to your benefits consultant or local Delta Dental of Illinois representative about your options.

1Employee Benefits Research Institute, https://www.ebri.org/pdf/notespdf/EBRI_Notes_11_Nov-14_WBS.pdf