Trying to understand what factors cause employee benefit rates to increase most years can be frustrating for most people. What changes from year to year to drive costs up, often greater than inflation? Though there are many factors, dental rates are primarily driven by two things:
- usage of dental services
- the Dental Fee Guide
When dental plan renewals are prepared, underwriters analyze usage patterns over the previous years to best determine what is to expect in the upcoming year. Sometimes, rates generate more than enough to cover anticipated claims and are reduced and sometimes they don’t and require an increase. However, dental fee guides indicate how much more individual dental procedures will cost each year.
Each province has its own dental association. Among the many other roles they play, such as advocacy and education, the associations research and recommend the fees to be charged for dental procedures year over year. Annually, the dental associations release new fee guides to be effective in the following year. While these are recommendations, dental practitioners generally adhere to the fees that the various associations recommend. The most common exception is that specialists doing basic dental procedures may charge more than the average family dentist would.
Although the various procedures listed in the guides may be rated separately, the aggregate percentage change is the increase underwriters will apply to rates, In addition to anticipated usage.
Over the past decade or more, the provincial fee guides have fluctuated between about a 4% to 6% increase. Last year, for example, we saw an average increase of 4.75% in Ontario. This year, however, inflationary pressures have dictated the highest fee guide increase in many years. Below is a chart showing increases proposed for most provinces (the Atlantic provinces weren’t available at time of publishing).
|Province||2023 Dental Fee Guide increase|
Renewals coming effective now and through 2023 will include dental rates calculated using the above factors. For more information or questions on how to reduce your dental costs, please contact your ASSOCIUM Benefits representative.
ASSOCIUM Benefits is a very unique employee group benefits provider, focused on supporting benefits Advisors and their employer clients. We provide Brokers and Plan Sponsors with a range of solutions from traditional group benefits to more customized, cost and tax effective employee compensation. Let’s connect to find out how we can help.