Executive Summary / The Pacesetter
The top 15 dental plans in Los Angeles County have 6.4 million enrollees, up 16 percent from last year when they served about 5.5 million patients.
Driving the enrollment gains were expansions in two state programs: Medi-Cal, which primarily serves the elderly, disabled and poor, and Healthy Families, which serves children of the working poor.
The top six plans all saw enrollment increases, while the smaller plans had more mixed results. At the top of the list again is Delta Dental Plan of California, while last year’s second largest plan, Cigna Dental Health of California Inc., dropped to No. 6 despite a slight enrollment increase.
Guardian/MDC of California, which was the fifth largest plan last year, dropped to No. 14 on our list as enrollment fell from 94,800 to 75,000.
Delta Dental Plan of California
Delta Dental Plan of California, with 15.1 million members statewide, is the 800-pound gorilla of L.A. County dental plans. And that won’t change any time soon.
Delta Dental and its affiliated PMI Dental Health Plan (No. 2), a separately licensed plan that offers Delta’s HMO product, together have 4.3 million members in Los Angeles County, more than the other top plans combined.
Delta Dental is an affiliate of the San Francisco-based Dentegra Group Inc., a holding company that includes Delta Plan of Pennsylvania. The affiliates operate nationwide with a combined enrollment of 18.7 million members, making Dentegra one of the nation’s largest dental health plans.
Locally, Delta and PMI added 1 million members since last year, a jump the company traces to several trends: a slowing economy that added to the number of poor patients being served by Medi-Cal, the expansion of the state’s Healthy Families program for the children of the working poor, and continued strong performance of its HMO in Los Angeles.
“The urban density of Los Angeles makes its possible to have a sufficient number of enrollees, and that makes it worthwhile for dentists to participate,” said Jeff Album, a company spokesman.