Thursday, August 16, 2007

Delta Dental Has Largest Nationwide Networks

A new report shows that Delta Dental maintains the largest networks of dentists in the nation, a position the nation's largest dental benefit system has held for more than five decades. The report, generated by a third-party resource for data on providers and managed care networks to the healthcare industry, indicates that Delta Dental has over 7,500 more dentist locations than the next closest national competitor.

The Delta Dental Premier provider network offers more than 121,000 participating individual dentists in over 174,000 office locations nationwide. The Delta Dental PPO network includes over 60,000 individual dentists in more than 97,000 office locations. Both networks represent the largest in their respective classes, with three out of every four dentists in the nation participating in one or more of the Delta Dental networks.

"Having the largest networks of dentists in the nation is tremendously important because it means we can deliver maximum access and freedom of choice with minimal disruption or inconvenience to our 50 million subscribers," said Kim Volk, president and CEO of Delta Dental Plans Association. "Our networks represent a critical part of fulfilling our commitment to promoting good oral health by creating access to affordable dental care."

Delta Dental Premier offers a comprehensive package of benefits coupled with cost-saving managed care features and flexible plan designs. Delta Dental PPO provides enrollees a dual network advantage; they receive deeper discounts for seeking care from within the extensive PPO provider network, along with access to the largest network of any type in the nation, Delta Dental Premier, as a secondary safety net.

Enrollees in either program realize significant out-of-pocket savings from a "no balance billing" provision. Dentists in both the Delta Dental PPO and Delta Dental Premier networks accept negotiated fees as payment in full, and can't pass costs along to patients for any differences between submitted charges and the charges allowed under Delta Dental's contractual agreements. Enrollees seeking services from network dentists only have to pay deductibles and copayments required by their plans. Delta Dental attributes the size and strength of their networks to a number of factors. First, the 39 independently operating member companies that comprise the Delta Dental System allow for locally based recruitment and dentists relationships, even while all part of a single, uniform nationwide network.

From everyday operations to the highest levels of management, Delta Dental also employs more licensed dentists and dental professionals on staff than other dental carriers. This ensures that dentistry's needs and concerns are represented -- imperative to maintaining network credibility and stability.

In a recent nationwide survey, practicing dentists were asked their opinions about some of the nation's largest dental benefits carriers and to name those characteristics they appreciate most from these carriers. The study, conducted by independent research firm The Long Group concluded that Delta Dental outperformed other carriers in areas identified as most important to dentists such as customer service, claims processing and overall satisfaction.

"We work hard at developing and maintaining relationships with dentists, and it shows in our networks," said Volk. "They're more than just numbers to us -- they're partners in helping to advance solutions for great oral health."

Delta Dental Plans Association (, based in Oak Brook, IL, is a national network of independent not-for-profit dental service corporations. The Delta Dental system is the oldest and largest dental benefits carrier in the nation, specializing in providing dental benefits programs to 50 million Americans in more than 88,000 employee groups throughout the country.

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