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Employee dental claims are up, reports Health Shield



Health Shield Friendly Society reports that dental claims on its Health Cash Plans are on the rise, even as post-pandemic access to practices and routine appointments remain a challenge. ONS data1 found that dental treatments fell in the UK by 69% to 12 million in total in 2020-21, compared to the previous year.

A recent study by Healthwatch2, has also warned that even when people do get access to dental care on the NHS, three-fifths (61%) deem it too expensive and over a quarter (27%) said they either struggled to pay or avoid dental treatments altogether because they cannot afford the costs. It also indicates that the pandemic may also have affected people’s habits of seeing a dentist. Nearly a quarter (23%) feel they will now visit the dentist only when they need treatment, despite clinical guidelines recommending regular dental check-ups.

Despite this, Health Shield found that the number of claims are up by 18.2% on last year, with the average value of a dental claim nearly £50 per treatment. One of the reasons for this is that claims for urgent dental procedures have doubled, potentially as a result of people not being able to go to their regular check-ups over the past two years since the pandemic began and the financial pressures felt by people with the rising cost of living. The cost of dental care has also risen in the last year as dentists have passed on PPE costs to their patients, although Health Shield has absorbed these costs on behalf of its members.

Jennie Doyle, Head of Marketing at Health Shield, commented: “Many companies offer Health Cash Plans to their employees which include dental care, and while they may still have to join waiting lists to see a dentist in the current climate, they still hold much value as claims for treatment have been on the rise. Health Cash Plans help to incentivise employees to focus on their health by removing cost as a barrier to NHS or private dental treatment, ensuring that any niggles don’t turn to nightmares.

“Previously we attributed the rising claims to more dental work being required after a period of inability to access dental services,” she said.

“However, it could also be attributed to inflation; as more employees who are feeling a financial pinch with the rising costs of living, especially those on lower incomes, look for more ways to save money and turn to their health cash plans.

“Health Shield’s key focus is to deliver value for its members. The volume of claims for members’ dependents and children has increased by nearly 8%. Around one in five claims were for dependents last year.

“It’s great to see that health cash plans are increasingly being used to not only keep the member in the best of health, but also their family.”




Notes to editors:


1 - According to ONS data -


2 - According to Healthwatch data -


3 - According to NHS data -


About Health Shield

Health Shield is an award-winning friendly society, dedicated to helping businesses stay in the best of health by providing employee health benefits. We started back in 1877, helping railway workers keep their health on track. Today, we’re still steaming ahead, with over 340,000 customers and their families benefiting from our products and services. As a not-for-profit mutual, we can put all our efforts into making sure we do things that are important to our customers, supporting our mission to help people lead healthier, happier, more productive lives.