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Press release from Business Wire

Craving Chocolate Hearts, Sweet Pies and Tarts During the Pre-Valentine's Day Season? Don't Overlook Your Dental Care

<p class='bwalignc'> <i>A New WellPoint Survey Finds Majority of Americans Look to Dental Networks to Save Money and Provide Greater Access</i> </p>

Friday, February 03, 2012

Craving Chocolate Hearts, Sweet Pies and Tarts During the Pre-Valentine's Day Season? Don't Overlook Your Dental Care05:00 EST Friday, February 03, 2012 INDIANAPOLIS (Business Wire) -- Calling all tooth fairies: Americans hope you'll pay their dental bills before and after Valentine's Day. According to a new WellPoint, Inc. omnibus survey, many consumers (72 percent) are looking for ways to save money on their dental expenses. During a time of year when many Americans will “pay the price” for indulging in numerous decadent Valentine's Day treats, this new survey found that Americans are looking for ways to cut back on expenses. “This is the time of year when people should schedule a check-up appointment with their dentist and get into the habit of practicing regular preventive care,” said Gary Ballman, staff vice president of Dental Product and Development for WellPoint. “It's important to maintain regular and routine preventive dental care, especially for those who have a sweet tooth. In short, preventive dental care can bring attention to and/or prevent chronic health issues that could cost you more money down the road, if left unattended.” Three quarters of survey respondents agree that it is important to have dental insurance to maintain good oral health. Despite this, two-thirds (67 percent) admit that without insurance, they are less likely to visit the dentist. Dental networks offer greater access to dental services and cost savings. In fact, half of all Americans who participated in the survey (52 percent) report that they save money by using these networks. WellPoint's Dental Prime and Dental Complete plans covers preventive services 100 percent when members see in-network dentists. In addition, most plans cover other services like composite (tooth-colored) fillings and extra cleanings for members who are pregnant or living with diabetes. Some plans even offer coverage for dental implants – or annual maximum carryover, where some unused benefit dollars may be carried over from one year to the next. WellPoint's dental plans provide greater access to general dentists and specialists. The dental networks offered by WellPoint's affiliated companies are among the largest. Like Facebook, Twitter and other social networks, plan members can access their information 24/7 to review benefit and claim information, search for dentists and other services. “Our enhanced dental plans can offer consumers greater access and help them save money. We can still give the tooth fairy a run for her money,” said Ballman. Additional survey results regarding attitudes toward dental networks and the benefits of dental networks found: If Americans could request anything from the tooth fairy, half of the survey respondents would request she pay for their dental bills (52 percent), followed by whiter teeth (42 percent), no cavities (37 percent), healthier gums (33 percent), and straighter teeth (24 percent). Americans look to dental networks for cost savings. Nearly half of those surveyed (45 percent) said their dental network helps them save money in less out-of-pocket expenses. Nearly four in ten Americans who participated in the survey report that having an extensive dental network means greater access to providers (38 percent), more access to dental specialists (38 percent), more services covered in-network (38 percent), and convenience of having a dentist nearby (36 percent). On par with social networks and professional networks, dental networks are also valued by Americans. One in five survey respondents with dental insurance report that their dental network is most important to them. The omnibus survey was conducted online among a national sample of 2,500 Americans ages 18+ (balanced to Census). Fielding took place in October 2011 by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS). The survey has a margin of error of ±2.0 percent at the 95 percent confidence level, meaning if the study were replicated, the study findings would be within 2 percentage points 95 times out of 100. About WellPoint, Inc. WellPoint works to simplify the connection between Health, Care and Value. We help to improve the health of our communities, deliver better care to members, and provide greater value to our customers and shareholders. WellPoint is the nation's largest health benefits company, with more than 33 million members in its affiliated health plans. As an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, WellPoint serves members as the Blue Cross licensee for California; the Blue Cross and Blue Shield licensee for Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri (excluding 30 counties in the Kansas City area), Nevada, New Hampshire, New York (as the Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in 10 New York City metropolitan and surrounding counties and as the Blue Cross or Blue Cross Blue Shield licensee in selected upstate counties only), Ohio, Virginia (excluding the Northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.), and Wisconsin. In a majority of these service areas, WellPoint does business as Anthem Blue Cross, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield or Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (in the New York service areas). WellPoint also serves customers throughout the country as UniCare. Additional information about WellPoint is available at www.wellpoint.com. WellPoint, Inc.Donna Page, 404-842-8105donna.page@wellpoint.com