Thursday, January 08, 2009

Delta Dental Donates $62 Million to Improve Nation¹s Oral Health

Delta Dental Donates $62 Million to Improve Nation¹s Oral Health
Donations aid uninsured children, help alleviate dentist shortage

Oak Brook, Ill. (January 5, 2008) ­ Delta Dental Plans Association released
its 2008 Community Benefit Annual Report, which shows that Delta Dental¹s 39
member companies donated more than $62 million in 2007 to support community
benefit initiatives that advance and promote oral health ­ up from $58
million the previous year. Public benefit support is up more than 290
percent from 2003¹s $15.8 million total.

³We are proud of our member companies¹ growing commitment to improving the
quality of life in the communities we serve,² says Kim Volk, president and
CEO of Delta Dental Plans Association. ³Through community outreach,
education and services, we¹re helping fight dental disease and promoting our
belief that everyone deserves good oral health.²

Each of Delta Dental¹s 39 independent member companies and their affiliated
foundations work actively within their communities to create and support
programs that advance solutions for better oral health. The programs focus
on expanding access to care for the uninsured and underinsured, alleviating
the nation¹s growing dentist shortage, preventing dental disease and
advancing dental science.

Expanding Care for Children
Children covered by Medicaid are much less likely to receive dental care
than children with private health insurance, according to a report released
by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). In 2005, an estimated
6.5 million Medicaid eligible children age 2 through 18 suffered from
untreated tooth decay.1

To narrow the gap between children who need and receive dental care, Delta
Dental¹s member companies provide free care to uninsured and underinsured
children. Free care includes regular dental check-ups, badly needed
treatment, oral health education and even transportation to and from dental
appointments.

For example, Delta Dental of Colorado¹s Foundation provides free care
year-round to uninsured children through its Smile-a-Bration program. And,
the Delta Dental Dakota Smiles Mobile Dental Program brings oral health
services to children from limited-income families who would not otherwise
have access to needed dental care.

Also, through a partnership with the National Head Start Association, Delta
Dental helped treat more than 3,816 uninsured children in 2008.

Alleviating the Nation¹s Growing Dentist Shortage
There are more than 3,700 geographical locations across the country without
enough dental health professionals, according to the American Dental
Education Association (ADEA). In fact, an estimated 46 million Americans are
living in identified Dental Health Profession Shortage Areas and 9,000
additional dentists are needed to fill this gap in care.2

Delta Dental¹s member companies support programs that encourage dentists to
practice in shortage areas and encourage college students to choose a career
in dentistry. The cost of dental school can be a great burden for students
and continues to rise, so Delta Dental¹s member companies help alleviate the
burden with loan repayment programs, scholarships and grants.

For instance, 88 of Iowa¹s 99 counties are designated dentist shortage
areas. To help, Delta Dental of Iowa awards three $50,000 loan repayment
grants annually to dentists who agree to practice in one of the shortage
areas and deliver 35 percent of patient services to underserved populations.

These are just few examples of what Delta Dental¹s member companies are
doing to improve oral health in their communities. To view the 2008
Community Benefit Annual Report and learn more about what Delta Dental is
doing in your community, go to www.deltadental.com.

The not-for-profit Delta Dental Plans Association (www.deltadental.com)
based in Oak Brook, Ill., is the leading national network of independent
dental service corporations specializing in providing dental benefits
programs to 51 million Americans in more than 93,000 employee groups
throughout the country.

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