For small employer groups there is now dental insurance that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss for employees and their dependents enrolled in the dental plan. Beam Dental PPO dental insurance has several plans and all of them include the basics for dental care. In addition, the Beam Dental smart phone app can actually reduce future dental insurance premium increases for the group.
Beam Dental Plans With Toothbrush, Toothpaste, & Floss
First of all, I have to say I’m not a huge fan of dental insurance. Not because good dental hygiene isn’t important, but because dental plans can be confusing and some individuals receive little benefit from the insurance. The folks who receive the most benefits from dental insurance are children and older adults. Children enrolled in dental insurance are more likely to develop good dental hygiene as they visit the dentist on a regular basis. Most Affordable Care Act health insurance plans now include pediatric dental benefits.
Older adults benefit from dental insurance because, speaking as a guy over 50 years old, we have more dental issues. Even with good dental hygiene, older adults have a higher probability for root canals, crowns, and partial dentures. Dental insurance helps reduce the out-of-pocket cost of expensive dental work. For younger and middle aged adults with good dental hygiene and regular visits to the dentist, dental insurance is a break even proposition at best since they rarely have expensive dental work done.
Real Tools For Healthy Teeth
One of the missions or goals that have been laid on health insurance lately is wellness programs to keep people healthy. But most of these programs don’t provide the actual physical tools and resources to encourage people to be healthy like a gym membership, exercise classes, or fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to the member’s door. Beam Dental has actually created a dental plan that provides the tools to help keep a member’s teeth in their best condition and reduce future claims.
To be honest, I’m a little bit obsessive/compulsive with dental hygiene. I use an expensive Oral B electric power brush, rinse twice a day with fluoride mouthwash, and use this Tom’s of Maine floss that is the diameter of a small rope, to get in between my teeth. I have experienced way too much dental pain in my life. Since becoming a dental cleaning freak, I spend less time in the dentist’s chair with cleanings and getting fillings. I could site the studies, but if you brush twice a day for 2 minutes and floss daily, the incidents of tooth decay and other problems is greatly reduced.
When I heard about the Beam Dental insurance plan that includes a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss to their members, I was intrigued. I was also skeptical. Beam gave me one of their kits to try out. Now I am impressed.
Dental Insurance That Comes With Electric Toothbrush
The toothbrush uses one AA battery and Beam sends out replacement brush heads every six months. The brush is light weight and easily gripped by even the hands of a small child. The brush head gently vibrates and hiccups every 30 seconds to remind you to change quadrants. After 2 minutes it shuts off. The Beam brush is not as aggressive as my Oral B rotating power brush. But after using the Beam toothbrush, I had to wonder if the expensive Oral B, where the individual brush heads are about $7 each, was over kill. Perhaps the little vibration of the Beam brush, along with the circulation provided by my hand, was sufficient to knock down the plaque build-up and potential staining from the pot of coffee I drink every day.
I was also impressed by the Beam toothpaste. I use Tom’s of Maine fluoride toothpaste. I had to get away from the major brands because whatever chemicals they put in those toothpaste was actually causing a chemical burn in my mouth. I would use the toothpaste and then sheets of membrane from inside my mouth would slough off. It was really gross. No problems with the Beam toothpaste which has an ingredient list similar to my Tom’s toothpaste, no harsh chemicals.
In addition to sodium fluoride, the Beam mint toothpaste inactive ingredients are kaolin clay, water, sorbitol, glycerin, sodium lauryl sulfate, carboxymethyl cellulose, flavor, sodium phosphate, xylitol, bentonite clay, sucralose, menthol, and sodium citrate. The clay products are used as the polishing element of the toothpaste.
For comparison, the inactive ingredients of my Tom’s fluoride toothpaste are glycerin, water, calcium carbonate, hydrated silica, xylitol, natural flavor, sodium lauryl sulfate, carrageenan, zinc citrate, sodium carbonate, and benzyl alcohol.
The Beam floss was better than average as well. It is more like the Glide tooth floss. I like it because my old jagged dental work tends to shred regular dental floss, unless I use the packaging string type Tom’s of Maine floss. The Beam floss easily went in between my teeth and didn’t rip or shred to pieces.
The big question is how do all these dental tools included in the dental plan help reduce the premiums. The tooth brushes wirelessly connect to a Beam application on the member’s smart phone. Yes, your toothbrush will use Bluetooth technology – isn’t that ironic – to log your household’s brushing frequency. All the frequencies from all the members in the group are then aggregated to provide a score. If the score is high enough, any future rate increase on the renewal date of the dental plan is reduced.
Groups are not penalized for low scores. They are only rewarded for high frequency scores. Not everyone has smart phones and people do go on vacations or travel outside the range of the phones. Beam understands this and groups don’t need a perfect 100% frequency score to realize a reduction in a rate increase. At first it sounds a little creepy; someone is monitoring how often I brush my teeth. In a sense, the dentist is monitoring how often you brush and floss. If you don’t brush often, then it will eventually manifest itself in the form of plaque, cavities and possibly gingivitis.
Something else I’m not a big fan of is trying to scare people into buying insurance. People should buy dental insurance if it makes good sense in their life. I like dental insurance because it forces me to get my cleanings, x-rays, and exams on a regular basis. I am more regular with my dental exams than I am with changing the oil in my car. Other than the regular check-ups, I haven’t filed a claim in years…until last year when I needed two crowns. Then dental insurance saved me over a $1,000 on the crowns with the help of the cost-sharing percentages.
Talking BlueTooth Toothbrush
No high-tech Bluetooth talking vibrating toothbrush was going to prevent those two crowns from being installed in my mouth. I have a mouth full of old silver amalgam fillings – that I got when Sears use to have dental offices in their stores 30 years ago – so those big molars eventually crack and split. What I have not had are cavities since I started to be diligent with my dental hygiene. If getting a whiz-bang tooth brush that talks to your phone with tasty toothpaste and floss helps you and your children brush on a regular basis, then I can guarantee you will save money by avoiding cavities and crowns. I think the savings will be greater than the dental health insurance premiums over the course of years.
Beam offers four different levels of dental plans: Preventive, Smart, Plus, and Select. The benefits and coverage increase as you move from the basic Preventive to the Select. The rates I have seen compare favorably to other small group dental PPO plan offerings. Beam generates specific rates for each small group quoted and will entertain customizing the plans also. If a small group wants a plan design that includes a really high maximum annual benefit like $5,000, they can create it. The network of dentists seems pretty good as well.
Insurance sucks. It’s hard for me to get excited about many of the health or dental plans on the market. I think the Beam dental plans mark a real shift in insurance benefits to the consumer. The Beam program is insurance with tools that will have a direct correlation to reducing claims and pain. If you want a quote for your small group, contact me and we can talk to see if Beam is a good fit for your small group.