Cigna UK HealthCare Benefits has changed its group DentaCare dental insurance plan, incorporating a feature it says is the first of its kind in the UK. That is, it can now offer full refunds for covered treatments.
The full cover feature is available on Level 3 and 4 plans only. Traditionally, dental cover only pays for part of the treatment cost, leaving the customer or employee to pay the balance. While any saving compared to having to pay the full cost of treatment is clearly valuable, having the whole cost paid is likely to considerably enhance the perceived value of the plan.
Customers must use a dentist signed up with Cigna and, initially, that means London only. However, customers can nominate their own dentist to join the scheme.
To recruit dentists, Cigna is using Munroe Sutton, which is the UK affiliate of Careington International Corporation, the premier US marketer of dental, medical and lifestyle discount plans. Munroe Sutton currently has 1,000 dental and optical providers in its UK network.
Customers can also use an online tool or freephone helpline to find a dentist.
DentaCare offers four cover levels, with maximum annual benefits of £1,200 at Level 1, up to £3,000 at Level 4. Cover limits also apply e.g. a maximum of two check-ups a year and a lifetime oral cancer limit of £10,000. Otherwise the plan includes cover for crowns, bridges and dentures and accident and emergency cover is included too. There is no pre-joining examination and claiming is simple.
What They Say
Head of product management, Kirsty Jagielko, said: “Our annual customer research highlights concerns over shortfalls for dental claims. The affordability of dental care is now a key issue amongst many consumers. Dentist charges can be particularly high in London and the South East. We have devoted time and effort to develop a solution to this. Our full cover feature helps make dental treatment more affordable and makes an already appealing employee benefit even more attractive. Employers and intermediaries now have an innovative solution to help employees afford dental treatment costs.”
What We Say
“Dental costs can make a significant and often unexpected impact on family budgets and tough economic times can mean people delay or avoid necessary treatment that can have other health and cost implications later.
“The apparently simple decision to pay the whole cost of dental care is, in reality, a much bigger issue than it might appear to be, and Cigna is making a brave decision by going down this route. Coverage is not nationwide yet but, if successful, that will surely follow.”