My son chipped his tooth last week.
Of course, my son being who he is, knocked off a fair chunk of his already-prominent right central incisor after a headlong tumble off a jungle gym. (I have no doubt the overactive tween stumbled during an ill-advised stunt meant to impress the ladies, but that’s beside the point, I suppose.)
Luckily, his mother works for an oral surgeon whose office happens to be right next door to the tooth patch guy (or whatever you call him). So keeping him from growing up as either a minor league hockey player or an extra from Deliverance isn’t going to be a problem.
If it weren’t for that, though, I’d have been at a loss, despite spending the better part of the last decade covering this stuff.
And just last week, a couple of colleagues sat in my office quizzing me about our own dental plan. And not just about who accepted our plan, or what we paid or anything as technical as deductibles or coverage limits. No, we spent a solid 10 minutes arguing over the actual name of our carrier.
(It’s DentaPremier, by the way. Or maybe its Denta PremierPlus? Now I can’t remember. And no, it’s not Delta Dental, despite the natural assumptions of some providers.)
Anyway, the point isn’t to bash our indemnity dental plan, but maybe to just call out the lack of education that’s clearly prevalent with regard to it.
Now is it our own fault? Sure, we bear some of the blame. I’m sure most employees – at any company – tend to take their benefits for granted until they need to actually use them. It’s human nature.
But at the same time, it’s incumbent upon the human resource department to communicate little things like this outside of the usual flurry enrollment correspondence. It can’t be that hard to drop out monthly benefit reminders or even longer-form quarterly newsletters highlighting employee anecdotes or even carrier stories. Things like this keep benefits top of mind, and not only helps stir up lingering concerns, but helps foster a broader open environment where employees feel free to give voice to their questions or complaints. It also powers a more positive word of mouth among employees, which is priceless.
All I know is that, up until recently, my son was a big believer in the tooth fairy. And he never needed to hear abour her from me. Of course, now he cost himself a few bucks with that forward face plant.