Financial wellness program adds bite to Delta Dental’s benefits

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When Helen Drexler took over as CEO of Delta Dental Colorado last December, she was impressed by the robust benefits package offered to employees of the insurance company. But there was one benefit she felt was missing: financial wellness.

“I think financial wellbeing is something many employers are beginning to see as a foundational part of any benefit strategy,” Drexler says. “If employees aren’t feeling financially healthy, they suffer stress and it impacts their ability to be focused and work effectively in the workplace.”

So Drexler worked with Sunday Sotomayor, Delta Dental’s human resources director, and the two implemented Best Money Moves, a Chicago-based mobile-first financial wellness program that helps employees make better money decisions based on their biggest financial stressors.

Delta Dental rolled out the program in May, and has already seen a big impact. Since the program was rolled out, 65% of Delta Dental’s employees have engaged with the tool.

Drexler says she loves that the program is a digital first application. “In this day and age, people do use their phones more often than their home-based PCs,” she says.

Best Money Moves first asks participants to list off their main financial stressors. Those could include fear of losing their job, healthcare costs, not saving enough for retirement, paying off credit card or student loan debt. Once a person’s top financial worries are listed, the program gives them a list of links to articles that offer suggestions and next steps on how to mitigate their financial stress.

It uses a points-based program, cash prizes and contests to incentivize employees to participate. Most employers see the return on investment very clearly, explains Ilyce Glink, founder and CEO of Best Money Moves. Best Money Moves uses information algorithms to customize the information a user receives based on their responses to the Stressometer.

“My 64-year-old employee might have different financial questions than my 25-year-old employee,” Drexler says. “Their ability to customize based on the end user was really innovative.”

Delta Dental has made a concerted effort to acquaint new employees with the tool as part of the company’s orientation program.

“We find a lot of people really appreciate it,” Sotomayor says. “They have access to it through their phones and the program as a whole works well with the company’s 401(k) plan and other wellness programs.”

Delta Dental also offers a robust 401(k) plan that includes a 4% match on the first 5% contributed plus an additional employer contribution of 4% after a person has worked for the company for a year. Employees are eligible to participate in the program after working there for six months.

“We know employees appreciate that. It is not everywhere you go you will find an enhancement like that where the company contributes a certain percentage,” Sotomayor says. “That’s what makes us very competitive.”

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