December 2016

News From Delta Dental of Indiana 

Best effective discount

There are multiple ways to measure the overall value of a provider network. The effective discount—which represents savings on all claims, both in and out of network—is a good overall measure.

A recent independent study by Ruark Consulting, LLC, determined that the Delta Dental PPOSM network delivers the industry’s best effective discount.

The Ruark study examined a full year’s worth of claims data from Delta Dental and 13 other companies offering dental benefits. It discovered that the Delta Dental PPO plan averages a 23.9 percent savings nationally, resulting in more than $5.2 billion in annual savings compared to dentists’ average charges.

One of the ways that Delta Dental delivers the best effective discount is our high network utilization—more than 93 percent nationwide for our two main networks, Delta Dental PPOSM and Delta Dental Premier®. More in-network visits equal more savings. Plus, Delta Dental is able to offer savings even to members who choose to visit a dentist who is not part of our PPO network—a key benefit of our exclusive Delta Dental Premier network.

The size of our networks also plays a pivotal role in our effective discount, as Delta Dental has the largest networks nationwide, helping to ensure that members can find in-network care when they need it.

The benefit of dual networks

When comparing dental plans, remember that a major advantage to a Delta Dental plan is our dual networks with a long-established history of fee savings.

The Delta Dental PPOSM network provides deep discounts, but if a member chooses to receive services from a provider outside our PPO network, he or she can utilize our second network, Delta Dental Premier®. The fee reductions are smaller, but the savings are still significant.

With our open network plans, members may visit any licensed dentist and change dentists at will.

Dentists in both networks agree to accept our maximum allowed fees as payment in full, and they agree to abide by our processing policies, including no balance billing. This means important protection for members, because when our fee determination is lower than a dentist’s fee, the dentist accepts our fee as full payment and is prohibited from charging the difference to the patient.

Delta Dental participating dentists are contracted. Members enjoy consistent protection and guaranteed participation on every case. Noncontracted competitor networks allow dentists to participate on a claim-by-claim basis, which can result in surprises for members who think they are visiting an “in-network” dentist only to have the dentist choose not to participate on their claim.

Delta Dental’s two expansive wholly owned networks of participating dentists, our cost savings and balance billing protection are just some of the things that make Delta Dental the best choice in dental benefits.

Video: How staying in network saves money

Brushing, flossing and seeing a dentist help maintain a healthy smile. And for Delta Dental members, making sure they see an in-network dentist can help keep their wallets healthy, too.

A three-minute Delta Dental video, “A Network to Smile About,” explains how members can get covered services paid at a higher level, with smaller out-of-pocket costs, by staying in the Delta Dental PPOSM network.

Meet “Julie” and watch her discover how easy it is to find an in-network dentist near her, and how staying in the Delta Dental PPO network could mean big savings.

This video is the latest in Delta Dental’s “Benefit from Your Benefits” video series, which explores topics that will help groups, members, providers and more understand how Delta Dental “does dental better.”

Click here to watch the short video.

Investing in our community

Helping the children of Flint

Two Delta Dental Foundation grants are addressing the oral health needs of children in Flint, Michigan, in the wake of the city’s water crisis.

The grants, totaling $204,302 to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, funded two school-based fluoride programs.

Because of the water crisis, children in Flint—especially those younger than 6—are drinking more bottled water and may be drinking more juice and sugar-sweetened beverages, which don’t include fluoride. The new programs are helping Flint students receive the daily benefits of fluoride to protect their teeth from cavities.

A school-based fluoride rinse program served up to 6,000 Flint area children this summer who were enrolled in Flint Community Schools’ summer programs, and the program expanded to other schools in the Flint area this fall. A fluoride varnish program that started this fall will serve up to 2,000 students attending Head Start programs in Genesee County.

Both programs are run by Mott Children’s Clinic and will be evaluated for effectiveness by the University of Michigan Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit.