New Lincoln Financial Group Dental Research Identifies Opportunities for Dentists to Gain and Retain Patients

RADNOR, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Lincoln Financial Group (NYSE: LNC) today released a new set of results
from its 2017 Dental Research Series – a new body of research focused on
dental insurance and dental care. The first
installment of the series
, released in June, looked at a variety of
dental-related topics from a consumer perspective, while these
subsequent results uncover dentists’ and employers’ points of view. The
latest findings reveal several gaps – differences in perspectives among
these groups – highlighting some key opportunities for dental offices to
gain and retain patients, and providing guidance for employers to better
meet their employees’ expectations.

“Comparing consumers’ dental needs and wants to the reality of what
they’re getting today provides an interesting look at the opportunity
dentists and employers have to differentiate themselves in the market,”
said Christopher Stevens, head of Dental Product Management at Lincoln
Financial Group. “Dentists can shape their practices to deliver a
customer experience that will attract new patients and keep them coming
back. Employers can boost employee retention and satisfaction by
offering the right dental benefits, and by proactively communicating
about those benefits. And consumers benefit in the end – they’ll get the
right information they need to leverage dental insurance benefits and be
proactive about their oral health.”

Patient Expectations vs. Dentist Perceptions

Lincoln Financial’s consumer
study
found that patients’ criteria for choosing and staying with a
dentist goes beyond the basics. While quality of care, office
environment and being in-network for insurance are all important, the
study found that technology and user experience are becoming
increasingly critical, particularly among Millennials. The problem is,
many dentists aren’t necessarily providing the experience younger
consumers say they want.

Websites are key for this audience. Forty percent of Millennials say a
dentist’s website is “very” important, compared to 14 percent of Baby
Boomers. Most dentists today do have websites (84 percent) – but, they
aren’t always providing the information patients are looking for, such
as:

  1. A list of accepted insurance carriers: 74 percent of
    Millennials want to see this on a dentist’s website, but just 43
    percent of dental offices feature this information online.
  2. The ability to make/change appointments: 71 percent of
    Millennials want to do this online. Only 47 percent of dental offices
    currently offer this feature.
  3. Average costs of procedures: 65 percent of Millennials want
    this information, but a mere 18 percent of dental offices offer it on
    their websites today.

In addition to a robust web experience, the study found that consumers
would greatly appreciate guidance from their dentists on understanding
and using dental insurance. A whopping 96 percent of consumers and 99
percent of Millennials say they would find it valuable if their dental
office provided guidance or help understanding dental insurance plans.
However, just 34 percent of dental offices strongly agree that they
currently help guide patients on treatments with their insurance
coverage in mind.

Click
here
for an infographic overview of these findings.

Employee Needs vs. Employer Views

Employers also play a major role in consumers’ dental experiences.
Seventy-five percent of employees say they expect their employer to
provide education about their dental coverage, but only half say their
employer is a good resource in helping them understand their benefits.

To educate employees on dental benefits, about half of employers provide
opportunities to meet with human resources (50 percent), 45 percent send
emails and 32 percent host health/wellness fairs.

Primarily, employees are looking for general information about what’s
covered under their plans (65 percent) and they would also appreciate a
list of in-network dentists with contact information (54 percent).

“It’s clear that consumers are looking for information and help – in
understanding their dental coverage and how it works when actually
visiting the dentist. In today’s environment, they want a lot of that
information available at their fingertips,” said Stevens. “Employers and
dentists can help facilitate this understanding by providing the
information consumers want, where they want it. By taking this approach,
employers and dentists may help their employees and patients,
respectively, get the dental care they need.”

About Lincoln Financial’s 2017 Dental Research Series

Results of the Consumer study 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 margin of error is +/- 3%
at the 95% confidence level. • Results of the Dental Professional study
are based on an online survey of 400 dentists and dental office staff
members across the United States, conducted in 2017 by Lincoln Financial
Group and PSB. The margin of error is +/- 5% at the 95% confidence
level. • Results of the Employer study are based on an online survey of
400 employers (human resources professionals) across the United States,
conducted in 2017 by Lincoln Financial Group and PSB. The margin of
error is +/- 5% 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 $241 billion in assets
under management as of June 30, 2017. Learn more at: www.LincolnFinancial.com.
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LCN-1910411-092917

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