Health Savings Accounts Cover High Cost of Dentistry

By Dr. Vincent DiLorenzo

Employers are getting pretty hard hit these days when it comes to paying for health insurance for their employees. Do you go with HMOs, PPOs or traditional indemnity plans? How about those Health Savings Accounts? Usually the decisions are based on costs, but are you really obtaining the best possible coverage for the best possible price? By providing a health insurance benefit are you encouraging employee wellness or are you just going through the motions?

How good is your coverage?

Even the most costly of plans may not provide adequate coverage for services that are instrumental in maintaining wellness. Take for example, one of the most important of medical services we all find necessary, dentistry. Traditional medical insurance usually does not cover dental and unfortunately dental coverage leaves the employee totally shortchanged. These services which are vital to one’s health are either excluded or limited in scope. This forces the employee to dig deep into their hard earned savings and unfortunately many choose not to get the work done at all, which greatly effects their health, and ultimately, their workplace productivity.

The mouth is the gateway to the body!

Dental disease has great impact on one?s overall health and wellbeing. The mouth is the gateway to the body and certain adverse dental conditions can have lasting and sometimes devastating effects on all the systems of the body, including cardiovascular, digestive, hormonal and structural. Neglecting oral health will have negative implications for overall health and ability to function at work.

Gum disease, which is present in almost 8 out of 10 adults, has been associated with heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, along with pre term and low birth weight babies. Advanced dental treatments that help counteract gum disease may include deep cleanings, antibiotic therapies, home care programs and even involved surgery. Treatments like these are expensive and in most cases are not covered by insurance. They are either excluded or go far above stated maximums of coverage. How much money could be saved by helping prevent treatments for heart disease or avoid those with pregnancy complications?

Traditional insurance falls far short of expectations

Take another example of severe dental stress that affects the workplace: headaches. Many people don?t relate headaches to anything coming from the mouth, but nothing could be further from the truth. The TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) happens to be one of the main causes of facial pain including headaches ranging from the mild daily one all the way to the disabling migraine. Headaches are a major cause of both absenteeism as well as presenteeism in the workplace. Your employees are at their desks, but their level of functioning is greatly diminished.

You would assume that coverage would exist for helping people with these problems having such severe consequences. The truth of the matter is that traditional medical insurance doesn?t cover TMJ therapy but the surprising fact is that most dental plans don?t cover it either. Imagine, this incredibly important joint, the TMJ, is actually the only joint in the body that has no insurance coverage at all. Amazing!

You are what you eat

Proper digestion depends on a healthy mouth. A poor oral condition equates to a lack of good nutrition which is a key factor in lowering one?s immune response and becoming unhealthy. Obesity is a big problem in today?s society. Poor eating habits, such as being restricted to softer, high caloric foods promote unhealthy weight gain. How can one chew effectively with multiple missing teeth and dentures? Options exist to alleviate such dental distress that include crowns, bridges and implants. Unfortunately, again, traditional dental insurance falls far short in providing adequate coverage for such health promoting solutions.

Can you imagine not being able to chew your food the way you want? What if you have multiple missing teeth and your bite is off? What if you have dentures whose biting force is only one hundredth the normal chewing force as healthy teeth? You?re right, it is a big problem. It is hard to believe but most people are in that very boat. The reason for such dental neglect is actually quite simple. People can?t afford to get their teeth fixed.

Health Savings Accounts offer a healthy solution

Considering that adverse dental conditions play such a vital role in health and that workplace productivity depends on your employees being healthy, doesn?t it make sense to seek out insurance alternatives that can address the dental component of wellness? Wouldn’t it be nice to find a way for your employees to be able to pay for and plan for dental expenditures? One such way is with the use of Health Savings Accounts and other forms of Consumer Driven Health Plan options. Health Savings Accounts, when combined with a High Deductible Catastrophic Plan, allows employees to access dental services they normally could not afford.

The healthcare crisis is here and getting worse. The financial burden is being placed on the employer and is wrecking havoc with the bottom line. Health Savings Accounts are a wonderful alternative to traditional insurance by lowering premiums, providing tax advantages and giving the employee access to healthcare services that are vital to health, including dentistry. All this leads to a healthier, more productive workforce.

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Dr. Vincent DiLorenzo, President of T-Horizons, LLC, a holistic dentist, specializes in Health Savings Accounts and Consumer Driven Health Care Solutions for families, individuals and employers by encouraging healthy lifestyles to lower healthcare costs at home and the workplace. Learn more =>

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