What happened to my Delta Dental/Assurant Benefits dental?

Prior to the start of the 2016 Annual Enrollment Period (9/15/2015 – 10/30/2015), information was distributed (Decision Guide, ParTNers for Health website, Agency Benefits Coordinators’ newsletters, at benefit fairs, and in a letter on September 1, 2015, to retirees and COBRA participants enrolled in the dental plans) stating that the state would no longer offer dental insurance through Delta Dental and Assurant Employee Benefits effective 1/1/2016. The material explained to the members if they were enrolled in Assurant or Delta Dental coverage, they could terminate dental coverage during the Annual Enrollment Period, and their termination would be effective 1/1/2016 or if they made no changes they would automatically be switched from Assurant to Cigna dental or from Delta Dental to MetLife dental effective 1/1/2016.

The state has procurement rules that we must follow when procuring a contract for services; in this case dental insurance.

The state procurement rules specify that the benefits in a contract may not extend beyond five calendar years. The benefits in the contract with Delta Dental and Assurant started on January 1, 2011. We could not extend the contract beyond December 31, 2015. Therefore, we issued a Request for Proposal (RFP).

All companies authorized to issue group dental insurance in the State of Tennessee could submit a proposal for providing the dental insurance benefits. Each proposal received was evaluated by an evaluation team for the experience and technical qualifications of the company. A score was assigned to each evaluation. Then the cost proposal from each responding company was opened and a score assigned to each company’s proposal. The technical evaluation score and the cost proposal score were then summed for an overall score. The State, Local Education, and Local Government Insurance Committees then voted on whether or not a contract for five years should be awarded to the best evaluated respondent. In this case, the contract was awarded to the two companies with the best evaluated proposals one for prepaid option Cigna dental, and for the DPPO option MetLife dental.

It is understood that with each new contract for insurance services (dental, medical and vision) there will likely be changes in the provider network. Reviewing the provider network during the Annual Enrollment Period is always recommended.

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