Unum Dental offers goodwill gesture to policy members in recognition of lockdown appointment delays
Unum Dental is giving policy members an Amazon e-voucher in recognition that they could not access surgeries or use some of their policy benefits while dental practices were closed during the first national lockdown.
All Unum Dental members (including Dencover and Optical) active between April 1, 2020 and May 31, 2020 are eligible for the goodwill gesture. The e-voucher amount will vary depending on their chosen level of cover and whether they have added dependants to the policy*.
Many employees were unable to keep up an adequate dental regime last year amid the lockdown restrictions. User data from Unum Dental shows a sharp rise in the cost of claims submitted from July 1 to September 31, 2020 as employees returned to the dentist after being unable to attend regular dental check-ups during lockdown.
In previous years, regular check-ups and hygienist appointments often helped prevent the need for more significant work. Unum Dental saw a significant rise in the value of claims post lockdown compared with the claims earlier in the year. Rising by 22 per cent in the last three months of 2020 reflecting the increased cost of treatment required – as well as the need for additional PPE provision. These figures suggest this has contributed to the increased cost of dental care**.
The higher claim costs indicate dental work following the March lockdown was more heavily focused on expensive treatment, showing what can happen when dental regimes are interrupted or overlooked for an extended period of time.
In the last quarter of 2020, despite the ongoing limitations of access for individuals to dentists, over 30,000 dental claims were made by employees as demand for dental treatment surged, proving oral health remains a key priority.
Glenn Thompson, chief distribution officer at Unum commented, “In recognition of the prolonged period where people were unable to easily visit their dentist, we wanted to offer our members a goodwill gesture after what has been a year of widespread disruption.
“The country has started 2021 in another period of lockdown, but the good news is that this time dentists remain open. So, we would like to encourage employers to make sure their staff are fully aware of the options available to them and to reinforce the importance of keeping up with check-ups and hygienist visits.
“It’s really important we all remember to pay attention to our oral health, not only because it reduces the need for painful and costly treatment but can help prevent more serious illnesses from developing. Part of this assessment should involve providing employees with access to dental protection and making sure they have adequate cover for themselves and family members. Indeed, we hope that by covering the cost of PPE, more members feel comfortable keeping to regular dental care appointments going forwards.”
In addition, Unum Dental has enhanced member benefits to cover the cost of PPE charged by dentists during treatment to an annual maximum value of £50 for all policy members and their insured dependents.
All statistics sourced from Unum internal data.
*The e-vouchers being issued during January–March will have no impact on annual benefits. Members can continue to visit any dentist or optician and use their benefits as normal.
** This increase also considers the fact Unum Dental policies have covered the cost of PPE since November 2020. Cover levels, annual limits and exclusions apply (e.g. PPE can only be claimed where it appears on an itemised receipt).