RADNOR, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE: LNC) today released the first set of results from a new research series focused on dental care. This first installment of the series looks at consumers’ evolving dental needs, and how those needs differ by generation. The findings reveal dental habits and preferences — highlighting opportunities for dental offices, and providing guidance for employers to better meet employees’ expectations around dental insurance.
Patients Want Guidance and Transparency
Consumers’ criteria for choosing and staying with a dentist go beyond the basics. While quality of care, office environment and being in-network for insurance are all crucial, other factors are also in high demand, particularly among Millennials.
(1) Web and mobile technology
- 40 percent of Millennials cite a dentist’s website as “very important,” as compared to just 14 percent of Baby Boomers. On the website, consumers want to see a list of accepted insurance providers (75 percent), schedule or change appointments (73 percent), and view costs of dental procedures (67 percent). Furthermore, 77 percent of Millennials say it’s important for a dentist’s website to be mobile-optimized, and 51 percent say they would “absolutely” find value in a mobile app from their dentist.
(2) Schedule flexibility
- Nearly 40 percent of all consumers surveyed want a dental office that will take immediate appointments — and about a third either look for a dentist that offers extended hours on week nights or weekend hours. Those numbers jump up even higher for Millennials — at 46 percent and 44 percent, respectively.
(3) Insurance expertise
- 96 percent of those surveyed say they would find it valuable if their dental office could provide guidance or take the time to help them better understand their dental insurance plan. In fact, 62 percent said they would find this support “very” valuable.
“Consumer expectations are rapidly changing across most industries, and dental care is no exception,” said Christopher Stevens, head of Dental Product Management at Lincoln Financial. “Understanding what all generations value in the market is important; however, it’s even more critical to understand younger generations since these consumers will help shape the future of dental care. Dental offices have an opportunity to make simple enhancements to their practices that can help attract and retain patients and meet these evolving needs.”
Those Enrolled in Employers’ Dental Plans May Require More Education
Most consumers agree that dental insurance is a key employee benefit — 82 percent cite it as “very important” and 54 percent cite it as a “must-have.” However, many consumers lack knowledge about their insurance plans, and only half say their employer is a good resource to understand what’s covered.
This lack of education comes through when looking at consumers’ dental habits. One-in-four consumers (25 percent) who have dental insurance say they have not been to the dentist in the past 12 months due to cost.
“Consumers may not be taking full advantage of their dental benefits due to a simple lack of knowledge about their insurance plans,” said Stevens. “Often, dental insurance will fully cover the cost of preventive care such as annual or biannual dental visits and cleanings. If a quarter of these individuals — who indicated they have dental coverage — responded that they aren’t going to the dentist because of cost, they’re probably not making that connection.”
Other notable findings related to employers included:
- 65 percent of consumers want their employer to provide general information about what’s covered by their dental insurance plan
- 54 percent say they’d like their employer to provide a list of local in-network dentists
- 34 percent say they would appreciate ratings or rankings of in-network dentists
Additional Perspectives Coming Soon
Throughout 2017, Lincoln Financial will survey several dental stakeholder groups in addition to consumers – including dentists and dental office staff, employers and benefit brokers. This will provide a holistic view of the dental industry, and allow for comparison of expectations and views across these key groups.
About Lincoln Financial’s 2017 Dental Research Series
Results of the 2017 Dental Research Series are based on an online survey of 1,000 adults 18 years of age or older across the United States, conducted in 2017 by Lincoln Financial Group and PSB. The sample was targeted using quotas to reflect the proportion of adults 18 or older within the United States. The margin of error is +/- 3% at the 95% confidence level.
For more information about the findings cited here, visit this link.
About Lincoln Financial Group
Lincoln Financial Group provides advice and solutions that help empower people to take charge of their financial lives with confidence and optimism. Today, more than 17 million customers trust our retirement, insurance and wealth protection expertise to help address their lifestyle, savings and income goals, as well as to guard against long-term care expenses. Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, Lincoln Financial Group is the marketing name for Lincoln National Corporation (NYSE:LNC) and its affiliates. The company had $236 billion in assets under management as of March 31, 2017. Learn more at: www.LincolnFinancial.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.