Delta Dental of Arkansas COVID-19 Relief Funding Exceeded $27 Million in 2020 Grants, Loans and Premium Holidays Benefitted Businesses, Dentists and Communities
LITTLE ROCK, AR—Delta Dental of Arkansas provided $27.4 million in direct COVID-19 relief funding in 2020 while also enacting rate holds, offering grace periods for premium payments, easing eligibility requirements for coverage, retaining its full workforce and facilitating telecommuting for most of its employees. The beneficiaries included network group clients and members, dentists, Arkansas non-profit and community organizations as well as company employees.
This significant financial commitment and operational adjustments build on Delta Dental’s almost 40-year history of investing in communities statewide through affordable dental and vision insurance and financial support of programs that enhance the quality of life of all Arkansans.
“Arkansans have relied on Delta Dental as a committed business and community partner since 1982,” said President and CEO Ed Choate. “We take that responsibility very seriously. So when the COVID-19 crisis hit, our first reaction was: ‘How can we find ways to immediately support our network dentists, business clients, members and community partners with the challenges they were facing?’ ”
In response, Delta Dental launched the following COVID-19 financial support programs:
- Premium Holiday: $22.6 million in premium and administrative fee credits given to group clients. Delta Dental group clients received a credit of at least one month’s premium or administrative fee for both dental and vision insurance. Additionally, $793,000 were paid in commissions to insurance agents based on the total amount credited to group clients.
- The Advance Receipts Program: $1.3 million given in interest-free loans to dental practices that were closed and limited to providing only emergency services during the first two months of the outbreak. The loans have since been repaid in full.
- Reopening Readiness Grants: $2.175 million to Arkansas network dentists for PPE and sanitation supplies to assist when they were able to reopen their practices in May.
- Community Grants to Non-Profits: $532,500 in grants to 90 non-profit organizations serving those most in need through the Delta Dental of Arkansas Foundation.
In addition, the company enacted rate holds or slowed rate increases for most group clients through the end of 2020 and eased coverage eligibility requirements to accommodate furloughed or temporarily laid-off employees of group clients. The Delta Dental website, www.deltadentalar.com, was updated regularly to publish timely information relevant to obtaining and providing oral health care during the pandemic.
Furthermore, Delta Dental maintained its full workforce without any layoffs, guaranteed full compensation for all employees regardless of how many hours they were able to work from March through June, and facilitated a transition to working remotely for 97% of employees, including stipends to set up home offices and defray costs for internet services. With a statewide reputation for its strong commitment to employee training and job satisfaction, Delta Dental boosted morale by instituting regular virtual check-ins, luncheons and trainings, delivering gifts and snack boxes to employees’ homes and offering flexible work hours.
“As the pandemic continues, we are encouraged that the lessons learned during the previous 10 months have enabled us all to become more resilient, innovative and energized to provide the best service to our clients, network dental providers, employees and communities,” Choate emphasized.
Delta Dental of Arkansas’s relief funding is part of a total of $1.1 billion COVID-19 relief support provided in 2020 by the Delta Dental Plans Association, the not-for-profit national association of 39 independent Delta Dental companies, including Arkansas, and the largest dental insurance provider in the nation.
About Delta Dental of Arkansas
Delta Dental of Arkansas is the largest dental benefits provider in the state, helping more than 800,000 Arkansans keep their smiles healthy through commercial and Medicaid coverage. As a not-for-profit company, Delta Dental is committed to improving the oral health of Arkansans through the philanthropic efforts of its Foundation, which donated more than $3 million to support oral health education initiatives in the last three years. For more information, visit www.deltadentalar.com.