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Preparing for open enrollment during a pandemic: Add dental/vision benefits for healthy employees

With concerns about the impact of COVID-19 top of mind for most employers right now, building a competitive benefits package might not be a looming priority. Maintaining business operations and updating policies to include the ever-changing new reality brought about by the coronavirus may be consuming our time.

However, as open enrollment periods get closer on the calendar, now is the time to put some thought into your 2021 employee benefits package. The opportunity to provide your employees with the peace of mind that comes from health benefits like dental and vision insurance may improve your bottom line.

Whether your goal is recruitment, retention or both, your employee benefits package is key. Yes, Iowa’s unemployment rate increased to 10.2% in April 2020 as compared to 2.7% just one year ago. We know much of that increase is directly attributed to COVID-19. Now is the time to examine your benefits for the long term. As we collectively walk through the pandemic, your employees may be more aware of their benefits package than ever before.

Benefits that keep them and their family healthy will be top of mind. A 2017 survey by Fractl reported that 88% of job seekers said better health, dental and vision insurance was the top consideration in choosing a job. So, while an on-site gym, free coffee and yoga classes might seem appealing or look good on your recruitment website, ensuring your employees have their basic needs met is still the most important consideration.

Offering dental and vision insurance coverage has benefits to employers as well. Employees who have coverage are more likely to attend regular checkups with their dentist and optometrist. These preventive visits increase productivity and decrease the likelihood of missing work for emergency issues like infections. In addition, regular checkups can spot signs or symptoms of chronic disease like cardiovascular issues, diabetes, cancer and more.

Let’s not forget the external benefits of healthy vision and smiles. No matter what our line of work, good oral health and eye health practices have a direct connection to:

  • Your ability to interact with people
  • Your quality of life
  • The appearance of your smile
  • Your ability to pronounce words
  • Your ability to assess situations visually
  • Your ability to chew food


Help your employees provide the best services possible to your customers by ensuring their health care needs are met. Dental and vision insurance provides an incentive for preventive checkups that will improve productivity through early detection of issues or disease. Your employees will feel more confident and communicate more effectively with healthy vision and healthy smiles.

For more information on Delta Dental and DeltaVision plans for your business, visit

Dr. Jeffrey Chaffin is chief dental officer for Delta Dental of Iowa, and Dr. Chad Overman is director of vision benefits for DeltaVision.

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