However, Briggs, like Anthony, believes that the majority of employers that introduce on site provision reap the rewards in terms of increased man hours and motivation.
“You don’t lay on these types of services unless you see some tangible benefits from them,” Briggs says.
Simplyhealth’s Briggs points out that in addition to the economic argument for providing dental benefits to staff, the majority (71%) of employers feel they have a duty of care to look after their employees’ oral health.
With that in mind, intermediaries, Briggs says, should ask employers if they feel responsible for the oral health of their staff.
“If the answer is ‘yes’, they should then ask them what they are doing about it. Then they can say the employer can either fully fund it, part fund it or offer it on a voluntary basis.
“It’s a message that won’t fall on deaf ears. There are a lot of employers who feel responsible for this. A lot of employers believe they have an obligation in this space and two thirds of them say there are manifest benefits to them of offering dental benefits to staff.”
In addition to the question of funding dental benefits, employers should also consider the actual provision aspect of dental care.
Depending on location, companies might be able to strike deals with dentists locally. In addition to providing “on site” dentists for large employers, Bupa Wellness, for example, has two retail sites in London (Cornhill in the City and Canary Wharf) and one at its Bupa Wellness centre in Solihull near Birmingham.
Dr Minesh Talati of dental chain malmin, meanwhile, is one of a number of entrepreneurial dentists emerging across the country who are looking to strike deals with companies, either through providing dental benefit schemes or actual dental care itself, either on site or out of one of his state of the art surgeries. malmin, a growing chain of ultra-modern dental practices springing up across the country, treats over 40,000 patients and has sites in London and Manchester, with six more planned for roll out this year.
Dr Talati, who is keen to work with brokers to help their clients, says his organisation works closely with HR managers to tailor make dental plans for businesses and offer national and worldwide cover. In some of the sites, called polyclinics, there are also GPs and other allied healthcare professionals.
“We encourage employers not only to have a dental benefit package but to use a dental practice close to the workplace to reduce the time away from work and also to encourage early, lunchtime or evening appointments to minimise disruption in the workplace,” Dr Talati says. “These provide a cost saving which far outweighs the cost of the dental benefit.”