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Denplan survey reveals companies’ views on direct settlement

28 January, 2015
employer research

Recent research from Denplan may go some way in answering the ongoing debate over the value of direct settlement after finding that two thirds of companies who offer dental plans to their employees still place high value on the current reimbursement process.  Of the remaining third, the overwhelming majority acknowledged they would not be willing to accept a higher premium to access direct settlement.

In the Denplan survey, over 100 companies agreed that the current claims process of paying for treatment and claiming for reimbursement ‘helps to enhance the visibility and reinforce the value of a dental plan’.

“Direct settlement appeared to be gaining interest with some intermediaries and yet it’s interesting that our clients place such high value on the current reimbursement process,” said Pam Whelan, Head of Corporate at Denplan. “The feedback from the survey was clear that companies still place high value on the service they receive to ensure the claim process is not a barrier to employees joining and remaining on a dental plan.”

Having a relationship with around 6,500 dentists, Denplan were keen to get a balanced view from several dental teams and found that integrating a direct settlement concept may have implications on the day-to-day smooth-running of a busy dental practice:

“The goal of any dental practice is to spend as much time as possible with patients and make sure each appointment is of value to them,” explained Robert Rutland, principal dentist of Berkshire-based practice Broadway Lifesmiles. “Although it initially sounds like a convenient idea for patients, a direct settlement scheme would add administration time to an already busy practice and detract from the time that dental teams like to give to patients. Also, because the patient would leave the practice straight after an appointment without thinking about the costs, they could begin to devalue the worth of their dental plan and the treatment they have received.”

Denplan’s service also received favourable feedback in the survey, contributing to how clients view the overall claims experience.

“Denplan offers a true online claims system for all employees which has really streamlined how fast we can turn claims around,” said Pam. “Our Corporate Online Services enables employees to submit claims and supporting material online, which are then processed and paid directly into the claimant’s bank account within five working days. In the survey, over 95% of our clients said they were satisfied with this timeframe.

“In fact, the system is working so well that in 2014 we processed 75% of the claims submitted online on average in less than two days. This is great news for employees and companies alike and we’re incredibly proud of our customer service. With the speed of reimbursement like this, the majority of our clients don’t seem to feel the need for a direct settlement option. These insights are extremely interesting and we’ll keep consulting with clients, intermediaries and member dentists alike to ensure Denplan continues to deliver the optimum experience for everyone.”

About the survey

The online survey was conducted through clicktools.com and sent to 900 of Denplan’s clients, total respondents 113. Survey carried out 9/10/14.

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