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26 Mar 2024
by Neil Fisher

How a health cash plan can boost employee dental health

With poor oral health linked to other diseases and mental ill-health, a benefit that helps increase access to dental care will help cut work absences

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The UK Government recently announced a £20,000 bonus for dentists who set up practice in areas of England with poor access to NHS care. 

The plan, largely criticised by dental industry leaders for not going far enough and only dealing with short-term issues, also includes a requirement for dentists to carry out teeth-cleaning in schools. 

But, despite this incentive, the issue is likely to remain largely unchanged as thousands of families face an uncertain economic future which is putting healthcare needs at the bottom of the list.

In response to these challenges, Healthwatch, an independent consumer champion for both health and social care, says: “Across England, we have seen major access issues in NHS dentistry. The rising cost of living has had a real impact, with our latest data showing that one in five people have avoided going to the dentist because they can't afford it. A year ago, this figure was one in 10.”

With the topic gaining increasing attention, employers are in a unique position to provide a solution to help their workers get the dental treatment they need by offsetting the expense through a health cash plan. 

While the immediate benefit for employees is a reimbursement for routine dental check-ups, fillings, and other treatment, it also has a direct impact on an individuals’ health and wellbeing. 

For example, the US National Institute of Health reports that mental health and oral health are linked, with tooth loss and decay contributing to reduced quality of life, feelings of low self-esteem, and depression. 

In addition, the World Health Organisation says poor oral health can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases and other serious illnesses. Put into a broader context, poor mental health is costing UK businesses £56bn a year while work absences due to illness are rising, with the Office of National Statistics finding that workers are taking more sick days than ever.  

So, offering employees the opportunity to opt-in to a health cash plan not only supports them financially but it can also improve their health and wellbeing. 

Prioritising dental health

From 2022 to 2023, BHSF experienced a sharp increase in the number of claims being made for dental services, resulting in an extra 15,000 claims during over a 12-month period compared with the previous year.

With demand increasing, it’s vital that businesses choose a health cash plan that best meets their employees’ requirements. BHSF, for example, provides individuals with up to 100% cash back on dental claims. Cover can include partners as well as children1

Another significant advantage offered by the policy is that it includes private dental practices2 carrying out this work which helps to alleviate the need to find an NHS dental practice. 

Going beyond dental treatment, a best-in-class health cash plan should also cover optical charges, NHS prescription charges, diagnostic consultations, chiropody/podiatry and therapies as well as providing financial compensation for nights spent in hospital. 

This can offer employees and their families a real opportunity to prioritise their health when times are financially difficult. 

1.  All children are classed as one person so share the benefit pot
 2. Provided by a qualified dental practitioner who is on the Registers of the General Dental Council

In partnership with BHSF

BHSF is a market-leading health and wellbeing provider.

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