State Negotiating $78.9M Annual Dental Insurance Contract With Cigna

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The state of Connecticut is in final negotiations on a contract for dental coverage of employees, their dependents and retirees that will cost about $78.9 million annually, down $11.7 million from the current yearly expenditure of $90.6 million.

The results of a competitive bidding process were announced Wednesday by Comptroller Kevin Lembo.

The state currently offers employees and retirees dental plans by Cigna Corp. and UnitedHealthcare. Cigna won the competitive bidding process and will be the sole option for dental plans after the negotiations are completed.

UnitedHealthcare has been a dental insurer for the state since July 2005, which includes two contract cycles.

“This new agreement — saving millions each year — recognizes that greater care and coverage results in better outcomes and costs,” Lembo said in a statement. “Cigna has not only offered the state a more affordable plan, but has committed to working with us to improve the oral health of plan participants, particularly those with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and chronic kidney disease.”

Connecticut has about 58,000 employees, and the dental plan covers about 177,000, which includes employee dependents and retirees from state government.

The state’s dental coverage is fully insured, meaning the insurer pays medical claims. By contrast, the state is self-insured for medical coverage, meaning the state pays medical claims, and two insurers are third-party administrators of the health plan. The state has about 210,000 people on its medical-coverage plans, which includes employee dependents and retirees.

About Matthew Sturdevant

Full-time staff journalist at The Hartford Courant and magazine freelancer with a master's degree in writing from Dartmouth. My work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Chicago Tribune, Taiwan News, The Baltimore Sun and many other news sources. My blog has been referenced by Politico.com, the Kaiser Family Foundation, the Georgetown Law Library and a number of organizations in healthcare and business. Sturdevant’s blog is "a well-written wealth of ideas," said The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism, (businessjournalism.org, May 18, 2011). I have experience writing for newspapers, magazines, Web sites and blogs as well as shooting and editing video. I made regular appearances on news-talk radio and on the NBC affiliate station in Corpus Christi, Texas. I made occasional appearances on the Fox affiliate in Connecticut promoting Hartford Courant articles.

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