The popularity of dental payments among employees looks set to surge as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a leading employee benefits consultancy has said.
Towergate Health & Protection is predicting a “significant” rise in businesses offering dentistry benefits.
There is thought to be a huge backlog of people needing dental treatment as a result of the pandemic, after dentists were forced to shut their doors.
But as more dental practices begin to accept patients again, demand for their services is likely to be high – and the cost of private dentistry is expected to go up, according to Brett Hill, Distribution Director at Towergate Health & Protection.
Hill said: “With most dentists forced to shut due to COVID-19, only treating or referring urgent cases, businesses and employees alike will want to get back on track with dental care now that surgeries are gradually reopening.
“With access to NHS dentistry about to become more difficult than ever, and costs for private dentistry expected to rise, we are likely to see an increase in businesses investigating options available to support staff with their dental health, such as providing greater financial support for check-ups and treatment.”
Hill said that dentists may well look to pass increased cost – due to additional spend required for COVID-19 infection control – on to patients. As a result, businesses will be looking at ways to help employees manage the additional financial burden by providing benefits that can support this outlay.
He said that some associated costs will need to be transferred to the patient, and dental benefits – such as cash plans or those included within private medical insurance – can help employees with covering the expenditure.
Hill also said that employers will also be keen for those staff suffering with non-urgent requirements to be treated as soon as possible, for their personal wellbeing, and to return to work more quickly and comfortably.
Hill said: “Employers will be very aware of the health concerns their staff may have faced during lockdown and will be eager to support them as restrictions are being lifted. With dental surgeries beginning to reopen across the UK, a key way for businesses to support staff will be by helping them to afford treatment and check-ups. By providing benefits, such as dental insurance or health care cash plans, businesses can support employees with getting their health back on track – in turn, potentially improving wellbeing and absence.”