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Vision and Dental Coverage are Important Benefits in the Competition for Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent

By Michael Elam on October 15, 2018 in Insurance


Vision and dental coverage are important benefits to recruit and retain top talent.

Unemployment levels in Iowa are some of the lowest levels our state has seen since 2000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In a competitive job market, businesses are continually working to recruit and retain top talent. And a competitive benefits package, which includes vision and dental care, may make the difference for that key candidate to say, “yes” to your offer. Employers offering vision and dental care can also take the next step – encouraging their employees to use their benefits.

Why offer vision and dental coverage?

Plain and simple, research shows that employees want this type of benefit as part of their overall benefits package.  Dental and vision coverage are the fastest growing benefits being offered by employers over the last four years. According the latest annual Employee Benefit Research Institute survey of employees, five overall benefits have become more common in recent years with dental and vision coverage growing five percent since 2013.

  • Health insurance – 67% of employees report their employer offered this benefit in 2017 (up from 63% in 2013)
  • Dental insurance – 59% (up from 54%)
  • Retirement savings plan – 57% (up from 53%)
  • Life insurance – 50% (up from 47%)
  • Vision insurance – 49% (up from 44%)

Offer it, and then encourage employees to use it

As part of an overall benefits package, dental and vision coverage offer measurable and tangible perks that are easy to take advantage of by employees. Let’s look at each type of coverage and break down the benefits.

Vision

Iowa employers offering vision care should encourage employees to use their vision benefits by scheduling regular eye exams with a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist. This perk benefits both your company and your employees. Here’s how:

  • A vision exam can detect everything from eyestrain to diabetes to high blood pressure as well as diagnosing common eye issues or more serious eye diseases.
  • The American Optometric Association (AOA) reports that eye diseases, vision loss and eye disorders cost the U.S. economy $139 billion a year.
  • According to Vision Council’s 2015 Digital Eye Strain report, proper eye care delivers $7,800 in added productivity per employee.
  • According to the AOA’s 2016 Eye-Q survey, on average we spend seven hours per day using digital devices. Overexposure to the blue light from devices like smartphones, tablets and computer monitors has a significant impact on overall health. This overexposure can lead to sleep disruption, eyestrain, vision damage and more.

Encouraging employees to use their vision benefits is one easy action step that employers can take to show they are focused on the overall health of their employees. Other tips that employers can provide to employees include:

  • Power down: Turn your digital devices off at least one hour before bed.
  • 20-20-20 rule: When you are using any device or computer, the AOA advises to take a 20-second break and look away from the screen, every 20 minutes and view something 20 feet away.
  • Maintain your space bubble: Use the zoom feature on your digital device to see small print and details, rather than bringing the device closer to your eyes.
  • Adjust your device to fit your needs: The AOA recommends reducing the glare by adjusting device settings or using a glare filter to decrease the amount of blue light reflected from the screen.

Dental

If your company offers dental care, your business will see the benefits of healthy smiles. Here’s how using their dental benefits will make your employees happier and healthier:

  • Through regular exams, dentists can identify symptoms of more than 120 diseases. Your employees’ long-term health can be positively impacted through early diagnosis of many of these diseases.
  • Your entry-level employees are the least likely to have and use dental coverage. The American Dental Association reports that one in three Millennials aged 18 to 34 have untreated tooth decay and are least likely of all age groups to seek regular dental care. Cost, convenience and confusion about insurance plans are the reasons Millennials cite for not going to the dentist.
  • They will miss work less, because employees who have dental coverage are more likely to use it. In a 2017 Delta Dental survey, 21 percent of adults in the workforce cited missing work due to oral health issues. Thankfully, because more employers are offering dental insurance, that number dropped seven percentage points from 28 percent in 2016.

At work, you can encourage healthy smiles by reminding employees to:

  • See their dentist regularly.
  • Brush twice a day and floss once a day.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods.
  • Drink plenty of tap water which provides fluoride.
  • Limit snacking on sugary and starchy foods.

As a health and wellness company, we work to recruit and retain great team members at Delta Dental of Iowa. And as active corporate sponsors of Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative, we recognize our role in setting the standards for being a great place to work. Our employees are encouraged to schedule and attend their preventive visits and use their dental and vision care benefits. We encourage Iowa employers to do the same for the overall health and wellbeing of their employees and their company.