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Don’t Cost Cut Yourself Out of Preventive Care

At the same time that we’re seeing positive indicators that the recession has ended and jobs are coming back, we also have definite clues that this economic crisis has left a permanent imprint on the American psyche. For many of us, it was quaint to note Depression era habits in our parents and grandparents. I personally knew a man who could only write with a new pencil. He literally bought cases of pencils and gave them away when they’d been sharpened once or twice. Why? As a school boy during the Depression he’d been forced to write with the stubs of pencils other, more affluent children threw away. To him, a new pencil was a sign of economic security.

A recent study by Channel Harvest sponsored by Insurance Journal shows that at least 50 percent of small business customers have actively made cost-cutting decisions on the coverage they provide for their employees and are still demanding more options to save money. The amount these business pay out in insurance dollars has dropped 17 percent since 2007 compared to 8 percent for mid-size and larger businesses. The good thing is that they are still buying the coverage, the bad thing is that they’re doing away with extras and raising deductibles.

Ancillary coverage options, like dental care, are likely a thing of the past as a work-related benefit on the small business level. In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation says that in 2010 only 71 percent of adults in the U.S. visited a dentist and the bulk of those appointments were not for regular, preventative care, but for an emergency.

What this all means is that the onus for ancillary coverage for things like dental and vision care is going to fall back on the hands of the consumer, who is going to be even more tempted not to pay for it as a cost saving option. Stop and think before you make that decision.

Unfortunately dental issues rarely appear in isolation and can become major very quickly. Vision is our primary sense and there are options for cheaper purchasing of eyeglasses once you have a prescription in hand. Online eyeglass production has grown by leaps and bounds in the past five years and consumer satisfaction with the products has grown steadily.

The point is, there’s always a way. When you begin to consider cutting ancillary coverage options, really look at how much of the average expenses of the service — dental fillings and cleanings, for instance — that you can carry on your own, reserving insurance options for big “disasters.”

You’re probably not going to get help from your employer in these areas, but don’t cost cut yourself out of preventive care. That decision can come back to haunt you in the future.

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