Unum finds U.S. workers stressed about cost of dental care

Expense ranks as primary reason many adults avoid the dentist

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (Oct. 10, 2018) — Employee benefits provider Unum (NYSE: UNM) finds that 41 percent of adults cite the cost of dental care, including out of pocket costs for procedures, as the top stressor about their personal oral health. This figure was higher among women (46 percent) than men (37 percent), and among workers ages 50-64 (45 percent). These results and other key findings were part of an online poll among 1,229 working U.S. adults conducted by Unum in September.

“It’s no surprise that the thought of going to the dentist evokes anxiety, but cost doesn’t need to be the trigger,” said Amy Marko, SVP of dental and vision products for Unum. “Dental insurance plans typically cover preventive care costs and significantly reduce the cost of other dental procedures, making oral health much more affordable. We also find that employees with dental insurance are more likely to use their dental benefits and seek preventive care, which can prevent bigger health issues down the road.”

In the same survey, 31 percent of respondents indicated cost as the primary reason why they avoid going to the dentist, followed by anxiety (8 percent) and the anticipated pain of treatment (8 percent). When asked what they consider to be the top benefits of having dental insurance, 52 percent cited regular, covered cleanings and check-ups, followed by coverage of routine dental care such as fillings and root canals (37 percent), peace of mind (29 percent), and the importance of good oral health as part of their overall health (25 percent). 

Fall is the time when millions of American workers enroll in employee benefits, and according to the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), dental insurance is one of the top workplace benefits, with 97 percent of employers offering dental coverage. 

Group polices purchased through the workplace are usually less expensive than individually-purchased policies and generally pay for routine cleanings, exams and offer significant discounts for the cost of common procedures such as fillings, crowns and root canals.

Unum started offering dental plans in early 2017, adding a valuable and popular coverage to the company’s comprehensive portfolio of workplace benefits. Unum dental plans include a national network of more than 109,000 dentists and specialists at 400,000 access points nationwide, flexible plan designs and digital tools including a mobile app and dental cost estimator, to help ease the financial anxiety of oral care.


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About Unum Group

Unum Group (NYSE: UNM), an international provider of workplace benefits and services, has been helping workers and their families for 175 years. Through its Unum and Colonial Life brands, the company offers disability, life, accident, critical illness, dental, vision and stop-loss insurance; leave and absence management support and behavioral health services. In 2022, Unum reported revenues of about $12 billion and paid $8 billion in benefits. The Fortune 500 company is one of the 2023 World’s Most Ethical Companies, recognized by Ethisphere®. 

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