It’s easy for clients – and people in general – to think of dental and vision insurance as nice-to-haves in the employee benefits package, but not essential forms of care. (After all, they’re not included in most health insurance plans.) Or maybe they think regular eye exams and dental care are important, but only for people with “bad teeth” or glasses.
That view is myopic. In truth, dental and vision insurance can be crucial for identifying health concerns that go well beyond the eyes and mouth. Dental health is linked to conditions such as cardiovascular disease, premature birth, pneumonia and endocarditis.1 Optometrists regularly spot diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure before physicians.2 And that’s apart from the 11 million Americans over age 12 who require vision correction (and everyone with a mouth needs regular dental cleanings.).2
It’s something that Mary, age 39, knows all too well. Upon beginning nursing school in hopes of embarking upon a career change, she realized she needed glasses because she couldn’t see the materials being presented in class. Her son had just gotten his first pair of glasses, and she assumed her own vision was suffering as well. “I’d always had perfect vision, but I figured I was just getting older,” she says.3
“I never would have thought to see an endocrinologist if it weren’t for my eye doctor.” – Mary, 39, thyroid cancer survivor
Her optometrist had two recommendations. One was glasses. The other was that she book an appointment with an endocrinologist. Mary’s eyes had a slight bulge to them, and the optometrist recognized that as a symptom of certain thyroid conditions. On her eye doctor’s recommendation, Mary saw an endocrinologist. Suddenly she had a diagnosis more worrisome than nearsightedness: thyroid cancer.
“I never would have thought to see an endocrinologist if it weren’t for my eye doctor,” Mary says. Apart from her eyes, she had no symptoms whatsoever.
Her family’s vision insurance helped Mary – and her clear-eyed optometrist – catch the condition so early that she required only minimally invasive treatment, and she’s now cancer-free. But it’s all too easy to imagine a scenario in which she didn’t have vision coverage, and didn’t book that visit because the out-of-pocket costs were too great.
Mary’s story shows that dental and vision coverage are important in ways that go beyond the obvious. Aflac’s dental and vision insurance plans don’t skimp on the basics, of course. They work similarly to health insurance, paying benefits to providers when insureds receive care such as dental exams and cleanings, eye exams and corrective lenses.4,5 They also pay benefits for procedures such as dental crowns and cavity care.
Much of the time, the basics are all your clients will need. But when it comes to people like Mary who have a condition that can be spotted with routine vision or dental care, that care goes beyond elemental and becomes lifesaving.
1 Mayo Clinic. “Oral Health: A Window to Your Overall Health.” Published 6.4.2019. Accessed 1.21.2021.
2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Keep an Eye on Your Vision Health.” Last reviewed 10.1.2020. Accessed 1.21.2021.
3 Personal interview, 12.3.2020.
4 Aflac. "Vision Insurance.” Accessed 1.20.2021.
5 Aflac. “Dental Insurance.” Accessed 1.20.2021.
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Aflac dental and vision insurance coverage from the 2020 pilot launch is underwritten by National Guardian Life Insurance Company (NGL). National Guardian Life Insurance Company is not a member of the Aflac family of insurers. National Guardian Life Insurance Company is not affiliated with The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America a/k/a The Guardian or Guardian Life. Aflac dental and vision products may not be available in all states. National Guardian Life Insurance Company | Madison, WI.
For all states that have approved the Aflac dental and vision insurance products, coverage will be underwritten by Aflac. In New York, coverage will be underwritten by Aflac New York.
Aflac WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999.
Please see coverage documentation applicable to your situs state for further details.
Notice to Consumer: This is a limited benefit plan and provides dental or vision benefits only. Aflac’s contracts of insurance, including Aflac’s network dental and vision plans, provide limited-scope and/or supplemental benefits only and do not constitute comprehensive health insurance coverage. Aflac’s contracts of insurance do not satisfy the requirement of minimum essential coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are not designed to meet any of the essential health benefit requirements mandated by the ACA or federal law, including pediatric oral or vision care services. Aflac’s contracts of insurance are not an alternative to, or a substitute for, comprehensive health insurance coverage and should only be used to supplement comprehensive health insurance coverage.
Individual Supplemental Dental and Vision coverage is underwritten by Aflac. Group Supplemental Dental coverage is underwritten by Continental American Insurance Company (CAIC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aflac Incorporated. CAIC is not licensed to solicit business in New York, Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands. For groups sitused in California, group coverage is underwritten by Continental American Life Insurance Company. For individual coverage in New York or coverage for groups sitused in New York, coverage is underwritten by Aflac New York. WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999. Continental American Insurance Company | Columbia, South Carolina. Plans and availability vary by state.