16 new states added to AARP dental insurance program

March 30, 2005
With additions, the 50-plus population in 38 states will now have access to affordable dental coverage.

The AARP Dental Insurance Plan has announced the addition of 16 new states, which expands affordable dental coverage to millions of AARP members and their families.

Initially released in 21 states and the District of Columbia last September, the AARP Dental Insurance Plan, designed exclusively for 50-plus Americans, now covers 38 states, including newly approved California, Florida, Illinois and Washington state. Plans are to make the program available to all 35 million AARP members across the country by the end of 2005.

The new states also include: Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina and Virginia.

Featuring comprehensive family coverage and the freedom to choose any licensed dentist, the AARP Dental Insurance Plan is managed through subsidiary AARP Services, and administered by Delta Dental Insurance Company, which underwrites it with affiliates Dentegra Insurance Company and Dentegra Insurance Company of New England. It targets the millions of 50-plus Americans who face losing dental coverage upon retirement.

"There is an increasingly critical need for affordable dental insurance for 50-plus Americans," said Dawn Sweeney, president of AARP Services, Inc. "AARP is devoted to ensuring that Americans have affordable coverage and access to quality healthcare. This offering is a direct response to our members' needs and desires for better products and services."

According to the landmark U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Oral Health, approximately 60 percent of Americans older than 50 have dental insurance, but most will lose this coverage when they retire and face fixed or reduced incomes.

The health implications for post-retirement dental care are significant, said Harold C. Slavkin, DDS, dean of the University of Southern California School of Dentistry and one of the chief architects of the landmark Surgeon General's report, released in 2000.

"Medicare does not cover routine dental services and, in most states, neither does Medicaid," he said. "With continued dental care, those who are 50-plus can avoid a myriad of health problems, including tooth loss, gum disease and mouth cancers. With continued care, we can all enjoy a robust lifestyle and a wide range of foods, communicate effectively, maintain self-esteem and meet our social responsibilities within our family and community."

The AARP Dental Insurance Plan provides immediate coverage for most preventive, diagnostic and basic restorative services, as well as endodontics (root canal treatment) and oral surgery (extractions).

After 12 months, coverage expands to include major restorations, periodontics (gum treatment) and prosthodontics (dentures).

"We've had a tremendous response following the initial rollout of the program," said Dr. Lowell Daun, vice president of Delta Dental Insurance Company. "Interest has been high in approved states, and we have received inquiries from all across the country. We are working toward having the plan available to all AARP members before the end of the year."

Those interested in the coverage may contact the AARP Dental Insurance Plan for more information at www.deltadentalins.com/aarp or call toll-free at (866) 583-2085 to enroll. AARP membership is required for enrollment.

Note: Coverage has been available in the following states since September 2004: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.