Small Business

Should Small Businesses Provide Dental Insurance? 

Updated on November 29, 2019


Providing comprehensive insurance benefits can help small businesses attract top talent and also stay in compliance with requirements under the Affordable care act (also known as Obamacare). Even if providing dental insurance may not be required, it can be a valuable perk to offer to the people who work for you.

Small businesses insurance coverage

For small businesses, the type of insurance coverage you need to provide your employees depends on the size of your business. While dental coverage is not required for adults, it is considered an essential benefit for children’s coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Under Obamacare, parents are not required to purchase dental insurance for children, but pediatric dental insurance needs to be made available in the state and federal online marketplaces for parents to purchase.

If you are a small business owner and have 50 employees or fewer, you are usually not required to provide insurance coverage to your employees or their families, including dental insurance. However, smaller businesses may benefit from offering insurance in many cases. For instance, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), a company with 25 or fewer full-time employees with average annual wages under $50,000 may qualify for a small business tax credit when they pay 50% or more toward employees’ self-only health insurance premiums.

However, if you are a small business owner with 50 full-time employees or more, you may be required to offer an ACA-compatible insurance policy or pay an assessment if at least one full-time employee at the company receives a premium tax credit to buy coverage through the government marketplace. Small business owners are not required to provide dental insurance under Obamacare, but you can choose to make it available for your employees.

Dental insurance options for small businesses

Many small businesses may find it difficult to provide health care plans for their employees due to its costs. According to one report, typically, a small business will pay 18% more for the same health insurance coverage a larger company has. It’s important to compare plans using plan comparison tools like the ones offered by eHealth to find coverage that meets employee needs while also fitting into your small business budget. If you’d like to provide excellent, comprehensive coverage which includes dental insurance to help draw the best talent and keep your employees happy, you do have a number of dental insurance options:

  • Many dental PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) plans are more expensive, but they often give employees more options when it comes to picking their dental care. For example, they won’t be required to choose a primary care dentist. They may also be able to choose an out-of-network dentist, but their out-of-pocket costs may be higher than in-network dentists. It’s worth investigating costs to see if this sort of plan can work with your company’s budget.
  • A dental health maintenance organization (DHMO) is a structured dental insurance plan that can be more affordable. In this sort of dental plan, a group of pre-chosen dental professionals provide care for a more affordable premium. These can be a great choice as they allow you to offer dental insurance coverage that may otherwise be out of your reach.
  • Group dental plans function like a membership buyers’ club. For a small annual fee, you can get access to a network of dentists that offer reduced fees to members. Typically, a member of such a dental insurance plan can expect to pay a lot less than the sticker price for dental services that range from cleanings to fillings to root canals. These plans may also offer coverage for cosmetic dentistry and orthodontia, which are not always available from insurance-based plans.

With the many options available, many small businesses can offer at least some level of dental coverage for their employees. When you go the extra mile and allow your employees to add this important coverage, you can seek to attract and keep the top talent that make your business a success.

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