DENTAL AND VISION PROVIDERS
The dental and vision plan industries are mature and stable, with a few large companies dominating the markets and reporting slow growth in enrollment and premiums.
According to the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2006, 36 percent of all U.S. workers in private industry participated in dental benefits, up from 29 percent in 2000. According to the National Association of Dental Plans, 71 percent of U.S. employers offered dental benefits to employees in 2005 and 57 percent of all Americans participated in dental benefits.
Also according to the latest numbers from the BLS, 22 percent of all workers participated in vision benefits in 2006, up from 17 percent in 2000. Dental insurance premiums for employer-sponsored plans rose 2.7 percent in 2006 for single coverage and 3.7 percent for family coverage, the latest statistics that are available from the National Association of Dental Plans.
Employer costs for dental and vision plans remain low compared with medical benefits. Both industries rely on employee co-pays, high volume and primary-care-only provisions to keep employer costs low. High overall benefits costs, however, continue to fuel employer interest in converting traditional employer-paid dental and vision plans into consumer-directed offerings, discount plans and voluntary benefit plans.
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