CIGNA Launches New Dental Plans; Continues Emphasis on Prevention
BLOOMFIELD, Conn.- A little toothache can pretty quickly turn into a big headache –not just for your mouth but for your wallet too. That’s why CIGNA’s new series of dental HMO plans places an even greater emphasis on affordability and promoting wellness by covering more preventive dental care services.
For example, under the new plans, up to four routine cleanings a year – two at no cost and two for a minimal copay -- are covered when recommended by the dentist. Children are covered for two fluoride treatments a year to help prevent tooth decay, one of the most common chronic infectious diseases among U.S. children1.
“If you have dental insurance, you might pay nothing or very little out of your pocket for a routine dental visit (cleaning, x-rays and exam), compared with an average of $150 or more if you don’t have coverage,” said Dr. Miles Hall, chief dental clinical director for CIGNA*. “If you need to have a cavity filled, on average the cost would be $115 or more without insurance compared to low or no cost with our dental HMO plan. Waiting too long to treat a small cavity could mean you’d pay many times more for more costly dental procedures, such as a root canal, and spend more time away from work and personal life to recover. The key message we’re sending with the new plan designs is ‘prevention matters, so don’t wait.’”
Hall said CIGNA is also changing some aspects of plan rules to make it easier for people to schedule their preventive dental care. Under the new plans, which are available now, the company is doing away with the requirement that cleanings be done at least six months apart.
In addition, the new plans cover teeth whitening – the kind of gel bleaching with take-home trays that many dentists offer. The plans continue to include important preventive features such as no age limitation on sealants, no referrals needed for orthodontic care, no referrals needed for care by a network pediatric dentist for children under 7, and coverage for procedures to help detect oral cancer early.
According to Bebe Shuler-Mure, assistant vice president of product for CIGNA’s dental products, CIGNA has been working to broaden the network of dentists who participate in the dental HMO plan and now has over 13,600 unique dentists who practice among over 43,500 office locations in the network, one of the largest dental HMO networks in the country. Individuals can locate an in-network dentist using the dental directory on www.cigna.com.
At a time when the affordability of coverage is a concern for both employees and employers, the new plans are offered with a range of benefit and copay options.
“CIGNA’s new dental HMO plans have more options available than many other carriers, including standard plans, plans with and without orthodontia coverage, specialty dental care discount, and split copay plans where copays are lower for using a general dentist and higher for dental specialty care,” said Shuler-Mure. “This array of options gives employers flexibility to continue to provide a dental plan, even if their benefits budgets are under strain due to the economic downturn. The plans are also available on what is known as a voluntary (employee-paid) basis, where employees can get the advantage of obtaining insurance at lower, group rates.”
CIGNA is also using its diverse product capabilities to provide value-added services for people in its dental plans. CIGNA will offer identity theft resolution services free of charge for individuals covered under the new series of dental HMO plans. Someone who falls victim to identify theft can be guided through the steps to recovery by an identify theft expert, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at no charge.
In addition, through the CIGNA Healthy Rewards® Program, individuals can get discounts on gym memberships, weight management programs such as WeightWatchers® and NutriSystem®, retail coupons through Linkwell, massage therapy, laser vision correction, tobacco cessation and more.
*Estimated costs without dental coverage may vary based on location and dentists’ actual charges. These estimated costs are based on charges submitted to CIGNA as of February, 2009.
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