You obviously have never seen a bill for braces. :-) Having said that, my premiums for dental insurance are around $80 a year for my entire family. It covers most routine things at 90-100%. The annoying part is that it costs my employer $1620 for their portion of the bill. Now, if you asked me if I'd like $1700 cash every year, or if I'd like dental insurance, I would decline the dental insurance. Unfortunately, my employer gives a whopping $100 refund if you choose to not get dental insurance. So the way I look at it is, do I pay $180 ($100 refund + $80 premium) for dental insurance, or do I pay for dental out of pocket? Two people getting two cleanings a year would probably cost over that. Add in an X-Ray, and you're way over. Forget about it if you need major work (fillings/crowns/etc). My last job charged $720 a year in premiums and had significantly worse coverage. I declined that coverage.
If the USA ever wants to fix the health care system, part of that will require companies giving people cash in leu of benefits. Between my company and I, my health coverage costs $13,300 a year. That is a ridiculously high amount to pay. I would gladly tweak my plan to make it more economical if it was an option. For instance, I'd take a high deductible plan or a catastrophic plan. My wife was in the hospital for almost two weeks last December. I need insurance for things like that. I don't need insurance to cover a runny nose. If I could tailor a plan to meet my needs, I could potentially save thousands a year. Heck, if I just put my wife on a full plan, and then put myself on a catastrophic plan, I could save tons. How much will my employer pay me if I decline health insurance? $50 a paycheck or $1300 a year. I pay $2000 of the $13,300, so if I dropped my coverage, I'd save $3300 a year. When I did looking, I was able to find pretty good coverage for a lot less than $13,300, but it cost significantly more than $3,300. If my employer would empower me to save money, I would. Especially if I got to pocket it.
Sorry for the rant. The point I'm trying to make is that sometimes people make bad financial decisions because they aren't in control of all of the money being spent. If I have to choose between me spending $50 or my company spending $500, I will take the company spending $500 every time. My money is worth more to me than my companies money is. Having said that, if I could choose to save money for my employer, I would do that to. I had opportunities with my last employer to fly first class to South America. Ticket prices were around $8,000 more to fly first class than to sit in the back of the plane. My company wouldn't have cared. I wouldn't have been punished for doing so. Yet I still chose to sit in the back of the plane, because I wouldn't have been able to sleep knowing that my seat cost $8000 more than it needed to. Now, if my choice was to spend $50 of my own money to sit in the back, or $8,000 of the companies money to sit in the front...that would have been a tough decision.