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Date: August 10 2011

NEW YORK, August 10, 2011 – It is important to look at multiple metrics, not simply size and discounts, when evaluating a dental provider network to determine the value it delivers to employers and plan participants. MetLife, a leading provider of dental plan administration for nearly 20 million people, today announced the availability of two new free resources for employers and benefits professionals that offer tips for evaluating the value of dental provider networks.  The guide “Taking a Deeper Look at Dental Networks” and the video “Building Blocks of Dental Benefit Plans” are both available at

“While accessibility, disruption, and discount reports can provide valuable information when evaluating a carrier network, it is important to recognize each report’s inherent limitations,” states Dr. David Guarrera, DDS, vice president, MetLife Dental Products. “The new resources help one learn the value and proper use of these reports as well as a new metric, effective discounts. In fact, this metric may be the best indication of the overall impact on benefit plan costs and participant out-of-pocket expenses.”

A large network with negotiated fees for covered services is only valuable if the participants use in-network dentists. The effective discount — the combination of in-network utilization and discount level or total percentage savings on claims from all dentists — may be the best measure of how often the in-network discounts are being used and the overall savings, or value,  provided by the network.  Analyzing the effective discount along with a carrier’s recruitment strategy, service efficiencies and practice pattern review process, can help ensure a more informed assessment of a network’s value.

“The effective discount is a powerful metric to know,” notes Dr. Guarrera. “It is also important to consider criteria like plan design, claims management and service excellence to optimize plan value and employee savings and satisfaction.”

About MetLife
MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 60 countries.  Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East.  For more information, visit


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