State awards contract to Delta Dental to extend dental benefits to nearly 7 million Californians

New four–year Denti–Cal contract includes up to five extension years

September 01, 2011

San Francisco — Dental benefits for 6.9 million eligible Medicaid beneficiaries will continue under a new contract awarded to Delta Dental of California by the California State Department of Health Care Services (DHCS).

The San Francisco–based nonprofit company was selected to administer an estimated $7.3 billion, four–year Denti–Cal dental benefits contract. The award includes five possible one–year extensions. Delta Dental has administered Denti–Cal — the dental portion of Medi–Cal — since the program’s inception in 1974.

“We’re fortunate to be able to draw on the economies of scale we’ve developed in our nearly four decades of administering this program and provide the State of California a cost–effective means to offer this important health benefit,“ said Gary D. Radine, Delta Dental’s president and CEO.

Like all Medi–Cal medical benefits, the Denti–Cal program is funded with matching state and federal funds. The program delivers comprehensive dental services to beneficiaries at or below the federal poverty level, in partnership with about 6,000 dentists statewide who accept reduced fees for the covered services they provide.

“As a health insurer, we know how important it is to keep costs as low as possible while providing a quality dental program,” said Radine. “Our ability to streamline administrative costs will benefit those who participate in the program as well as those whose tax dollars support it. We also appreciate the support of dentists who sacrifice to work with this program for the needy.”

About 300 Delta Dental employees administer the current Denti–Cal contract from the company‘s Rancho Cordova–based operations center near Sacramento. The company also administers several other public programs that serve another 300,000 lower–income adults and children, along with nearly 10 million commercial enrollees statewide.

Delta Dental of California, the state’s largest dental benefits carrier, is part of a San Francisco–based holding company system that collectively serves 25 million enrollees in both commercial and government–sponsored programs in 15 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. It is part of the Delta Dental Plans Association (DDPA), based in Oak Brook, Ill.

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