The statistics speak for themselves.
- 80% of potential hires prefer better benefits to higher pay.
- 87% of employers say that dental benefits are non-negotiable.
- 68% percent of eligible employees enroll in dental benefits when offered by an employer, which is the highest participation rate compared to other non-medical benefits.
Benefits are significant to employees, and after health insurance, dental insurance ranks at the top!
Do you currently have a dental insurance provider for your business? Are you thinking of adding this valuable product to your employee benefits package?
If you are considering adding dental benefits to your employees’ benefits package, this article is for you. Or, if you currently provide dental benefits but want to know what else is out there in the Pittsburgh market, you’ll find this information helpful.
As a long-term employee benefits broker, I have assembled a quick comparison of the major dental insurance carriers in the southwestern Pennsylvania area. In this article, I tackle these questions about the top ten dental insurance carriers in the Pittsburgh area.
- What does each company offer?
- Which dental insurance programs require preauthorization for procedures?
- Which programs require individuals to select a primary care dentist or stay in-network?
- Which companies have a nationwide network of providers? Which has a strong local network of providers?
Now that you know what you’re getting into, let’s unveil the best companies in our area.
Here are the top 10 dental insurance carriers in the Pittsburgh region.
- Delta Dental
- United Concordia
- United Health Care
- UPMC Dental AdvantageVBA
Let’s dive in to get a snapshot of what each of these companies has to offer.
Originally out of Hartford, CT, Aetna is now a subsidiary of CVS Health Corporation. In addition to medical insurance, Aetna offers ancillary insurance products to employers. This insurance provider:
- Offers both dental insurance and dental savings plans
- Requires enrollees to use an in-network primary care dentist solely
- Requires referrals for specialty care
- Does not set a lifetime limit for major plans
- Provides other types of insurance, including health, vision, accident, critical illness, and hospital indemnity insurance
- Offers dental plans starting at $22 per month
- Provides digital tools to help plan member compare prices at various dental providers
If you work with Aetna for group dental, it is crucial to understand the differences between their dental insurance products and dental savings plan. Coverage for your employees will be much less under the savings plan.
Aflac, a worldwide corporation, offers group insurance products that pay policyholders cash benefits to help with expenses. Like many other dental insurance providers, Aflac offers other ancillary insurance products.
The Aflac dental plan:
- Pays a flat benefit amount for each procedure directly to the policyholder
- Allows policyholders to select their dentist
- Does not require precertification for procedures
- Covers dental implants
- Offers in-network and out-of-network options
- Provides fast and efficient claims service
- Offers additional group insurance products including accident, critical illness, life, hospital indemnity, and short-term disability insurance
Delta Dental is a niche insurance group that only offers dental insurance to its policyholders. Delta has an extensive national network.
Operating as a not-for-profit provider, Delta Dental:
- Provides dental insurance products for small, mid-sized, and large employers
- Offers two plans, Delta Dental PPO and Delta Care USA
- Is available in all 5o states
- Serves more than 80 million Americans
- Offers benefits for employers that have employees in multiple states
Guardian dental is a group dental provider that also offers other ancillary products to employers. Guardian is a nationwide insurance carrier.
The Guardian Dental program:
- Has over 1,700 Pittsburgh area dentists in their network and 120,000 providers in the U.S.
- Offers Gold, Silver, and Bronze plans to choose from depending on your needs
- Includes plans that cover dental implants
- Offers employee-paid plans and voluntary products
- Has plans priced as low as $8.00 per month per individual
- Offers additional group insurance products including vision, accident, critical illness, cancer, hospital indemnity, disability, and life insurance
MetLife is one of the largest dental insurance carriers in the United States. Along with dental insurance, MetLife provides additional group benefits like accident and health, vision, life, and disability, along with other group products.
As a dental insurance provider, MetLife:
- Has an extensive network of providers – over 146,000 in-network providers in the United States with more than 450 in-network providers in the Pittsburgh area
- Covers 100% of cleanings and most exams, even with out-of-network providers
- Requires both in-network and out-of-network providers to file paperwork
- Provides multiple plans for employers to choose from
- Offers orthodontic plans
MetLife insurance benefits are very popular nationally as well as in the greater Pittsburgh area.
Principal is a well-established insurance provider with locations throughout the world. As a dental insurance provider, Principal has a nationwide presence.
Principal dental coverage:
- Works with a large nationwide network including over 5,000 in-network dentists in the Pittsburgh region
- Offers a mobile app to insurance participants
- Offers additional insurance options for procedures like dental implants and orthodontics at an additional cost
- Includes employer-paid, employee-paid, or voluntary insurance plans
- Provides additional supplemental group insurance products like vision, accident, critical illness, disability, and life insurance
While United Concordia has been providing dental coverage for over 40 years, it recently merged with the Pittsburgh-based Highmark Health. This division of Highmark is fast-growing.
- Serves over nine million members and has a nationwide network of providers
- Offers a variety of dental programs
- Requires minimal or no-cost out-of-pocket for preventative care
- Offers online tools for their members
- Provides plans for small, mid-sized, and large groups
- Includes optional orthodontic coverage for groups of ten or more
- Is discounted for employers that use Highmark insurance for their group health insurance
In the Pittsburgh area, United Concordia is a very popular option. Most popular around due to Highmark being a dominant player in the health insurance market
United Health Care (UHC) is a national provider commonly utilized by businesses in the Pittsburgh region. UHC primarily provides group medical insurance but also offers dental insurance and other supplemental insurance products.
- Offers fully insured plans for groups ranging from 2 to 2,999 individuals
- Provides self-funded programs to groups of 3,000 or more
- Does not have an age limit for plan participants
- Provides ten plans for employers to find an option right for their business
- Works with businesses throughout the US
- Can be bundled with your group health insurance, possibly leading to discounts
- Provides additional insurance products including vision, accident, life, critical illness, disability, hospital indemnity, and pharmacy insurance
UPMC, a big player in the group health insurance market in Pittsburgh, also offers a dental insurance product for employers. This product can be purchased as a standalone benefit or integrated with their medical coverage. Their product is known as UPMC Dental Advantage.
- Offers three plan levels – basic, standard, and premium
- Does not require members to select a primary dental provider
- Partners with DenteMax to provide a nationwide network of dentists
- Standard and premium levels include coverage for orthodontic care
- Does not require preauthorization for major services
- Can be added to UPMC medical insurance package
Until recently, VBA, formerly known as Vision Benefits of America, dealt solely with vision insurance products. As of 2016, VBA expanded its offerings to include dental insurance.
VBA dental insurance:
- Offers coverage for small groups (with as few as two employees), mid-sized employers, and large employers
- Members can choose any dentist
- Covers three cleanings each year
- Utilizes the nationwide Dentemax network of providers
- Provides benefits for employers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia
- Offers employers fully-insured and self-funded options
- Is a standalone plan not aligned with any group health program
I’d like to check into adding dental insurance to our benefits program. Who can I talk to?
With so many great options in the Pittsburgh area, which company should you turn to for your group dental insurance?
To determine the best provider for your company, you will need to answer several questions:
- How much can your company budget for dental insurance?
- How do you want to pay for this benefit? Will your employees contribute as well?
- Are you interested in adding dental as a voluntary product offered at a group rate but paid for completely by your employees?
- What dental benefits do your employees most want? Do they want additional products like orthodontic coverage or help with dental implants?
- Do you want dental insurance that requires your employees to use dentists in a particular network? Do you want them to be able to use any dentist they choose?
- Do you have employees in other states? Do you need a nationwide network of dental providers?
As an Employee Benefits broker, I have a list of questions like these and more that I use to settle on the best insurance provider for my client’s needs.
And having been in the benefits market for over twenty years, it’s easy to narrow the search to match my client’s wishlist to the right dental insurance carrier’s plan.
If you are ready to create a robust employee benefits package for your employees, I’d love to hear from you!
In the meantime, you can spend some time reading the Top 6 Reasons to Add Dental Coverage to Your Employee Benefits Package from our learning center. This article will give you a solid basis to the reasons dental insurance isn’t just a benefit to your employees. It’s also a benefit to you.