Delta Dental Introduces New Way to Stretch Annual Max
September 17, 2007
D&P Maximum WaiverSM Option Promotes Diagnostic and Preventive Services
San Francisco, CA —Delta Dental of California, New York, Pennsylvania and Delta Dental Insurance Company announced today a new benefit feature that stretches dental coverage further as it rewards enrollees who obtain routine diagnostic and preventive care.
The D&P Maximum Waiver option lets enrollees seek covered diagnostic and preventive dental services without counting against their annual maximum limitation. In effect, this increases coverage for those whose dental needs might lead them to approach their annual maximum threshold - a limit typically set by employers when they negotiate group dental contracts.
"The waiver accomplishes something similar to what are called 'maximum rollovers,' which allow a portion of unused benefits in one year to be carried over and added to the maximum in a subsequent year," said Tony Barth, chief operating officer for a holding company system of Delta Dental member companies operating in 16 states plus the District of Columbia. "Unlike the rollover, however, the D&P Maximum Waiver accrues immediately. It is simple to understand and easy to communicate. Our idea is to promote wellness without adding significant new costs," said Barth.
The D&P Maximum Waiver is now available to new and renewing Delta Dental client groups - both self-funded and fully insured. Actual cost varies depending on a group's current maximum and claims experience, but for most groups the expense should prove both modest and worthwhile, especially given mounting evidence of the link between oral health and overall health, say company officials.
"Many researchers now suspect that improving a patient's oral health - especially periodontal health - reduces medical costs for patients with associated conditions," said Marilynn Belek, DMD, chief dental officer for these Delta Dental Plans. "The evidence is still emerging, but we are safe to assume that getting more people to visit the dentist at least once or twice a year is preferable to them waiting until they experience pain."
Delta Dental of California, New York, Pennsylvania and Delta Dental Insurance Company collectively cover nearly 22 million Americans with consolidated revenues last year of $5.1 billion. All are members of the Delta Dental Plans Association (DDPA), the nation's largest dental benefit system based in Oak Brook, Ill.
DDPA consists of 39 Delta Dental member companies licensed in all 50 states. The association collectively covers more than 50 million of the estimated 165 million people nationwide with dental benefits.