Unum Dental is giving policy members an Amazon e-voucher to acknowledge the fact that many could not access surgeries or use some of their policy benefits while practices were closed during the first national lockdown.
The provider said that members – including dencover and optical – active between 1st April 2020 and 31stMay 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.
A spokesperson for Unum Dental said that many employees were unable to keep up an adequate dental regime last year amid the lockdown restrictions.
The provider’s own user statistics show a sharp rise in the cost of claims submitted from 1stJuly to 31st September 2020 as employees returned to the dentist after being unable to attend regular dental check-ups during lockdown.
The provider also noted a “significant” rise in the value of claims post lockdown compared with the claims earlier in the year.
Claims soared by 22% in the last three months of 2020 reflecting the increased cost of treatment required, as well as the need for additional PPE provision.
The higher claim costs indicate dental work following the March lockdown was more heavily focussed 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.
Glenn Thompson, chief distribution officer at Unum, said: “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.