New small business program announced

May 31, 2006
General agents play key role to make big company dental benefits viable for small business owners in five states.

ALPHARETTA, Ga.--Less than one-third of all employees who work for small businesses have access to company-sponsored dental benefits, according to a recent study.

To reach this underserved market segment, Delta Dental Insurance Company has announced new plan designs that make dental benefits more
accessible and affordable for small business owners in five Southern states.

"In many respects, the benefits of this new small business program are similar to those offered by much larger companies," said Anthony S. Barth, president of Delta Dental Insurance Company. "Through innovative partnerships with select general agents and their participating brokers, Delta Dental can keep the cost of these benefits comparable as well."

The U.S. Department of Labor's study, "National Compensation Survey: Employee Benefits in Private Industries in the United States, March 2005," shows that nationwide, only 31 percent of those who work for companies with 1 to 99 employees have access to dental benefits, compared to more than twice that -- 65 percent -- of those employed by businesses with more than 100 employees.

Cost is cited as the most frequent barrier to dental benefits, since many small businesses have relatively slimmer profit margins and do not have access to the less expensive group programs available to their larger counterparts. Delta Dental's new small business program is designed to help overcome that barrier by providing a choice of coverage options and plan type, which vary by state and employer contribution.

Employers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas now have a choice of Delta Dental plan designs within a preferred provider organization in most states (or a dental provider organization in Texas), including voluntary and/or employer-sponsored coverage.

A prepaid plan and dual choice option are also available in Florida, Georgia and Texas. Enrollees enjoy the same advantages as those available to larger clients, including access to some of the nation's largest networks of contracting dentists, and to an international referral service when traveling overseas.

"Our unique contractual arrangements with well established general agents allows for more efficient administration, resulting in lower costs and more effective distribution to a market segment that frequently has fewer options when it comes to dental benefits," Barth noted.

Brokers and agents interested in selling products in partnership with Delta Dental's designated general agents can learn more by contacting their local Delta Dental sales office.