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Some employers—especially those in large establishments—offer "stand-alone" dental and vision plans in their health care benefits packages. If a stand-alone dental or vision plan exists, it is likely that some employees will participate in this plan but not in the medical plan.
A common reason that employees make this choice is that they can be covered under their spouses' medical plan, but their spouses do not have a dental or vision plan.
In small establishments (1 to 49 employees), 18 percent of employees have access to stand-alone dental plans, and 14 percent participate in such plans. In large establishments (500 or more employees), 50 percent of employees have access to stand-alone dental plans, and 42 percent participate in those plans.
Stand-alone vision plans are offered to just 4 percent of employees in small establishments, with 3 percent participating. In large establishments, 19 percent of employees have access to stand-alone vision plans, and 16 percent participate.
These data are from the National Compensation Survey. A stand-alone plan is one that offers only dental or vision care, as opposed to a plan in which these benefits are included in a comprehensive medical care plan. To learn more, see "The New Health Participation and Access Data from the National Compensation Survey" in Compensation and Working Conditions Online, October 2009.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Stand-alone dental and vision plans: employee access and participation by establishment size at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2009/ted_20091102.htm (visited March 24, 2023).