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BLUE CROSS AND BLUE SHIELD OF NEW JERSEY CREATING MANAGED DENTAL CARE SUBSIDIARY

 NEWARK, N.J., Dec. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey today announced it is launching a new subsidiary, Direct Dental Network, to handle all its dental programs. The cornerstone of this new subsidiary will be increased emphasis upon preventive care and the application of the managed care systems that the company has already put in place for its medical coverage programs.
 Blue Cross and Blue Shield will file an application with the State Department of Insurance Friday (Dec. 3) to become a licensed Dental Maintenance Organization (D-HMO) in New Jersey.
 Later Friday, Direct Dental Network Executives will be meeting with state officials to discuss the possibility of providing managed dental health care coverage for about 260,000 children in the state Medicaid program. No other bidders have come forward at this time with an interest in providing coverage.
 "We are creating Direct Dental Network as a subsidiary to show that by cutting costs and increasing preventive care we can provide affordable, comprehensive dental coverage for the people of New Jersey," said William J. Marino, president and chief executive officer designate of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey. "The new Network is in step with our corporate strategy to become a total managed care company, and demonstrates our commitment to provide high quality managed dental care," Marino added.
 As part of the company's commitment to cutting costs, employers and consumers will be able to obtain dental coverage directly from Blue Cross Blue Shield, the first such major insurer in the nation to offer this service. The new direct service will result in additional "significant cost savings" for the consumer, according to Marino.
 Direct Dental Network also plans to introduce a variety of new benefit products, including a dental maintenance organization (D-HMO) and a new Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) of dentists. The new programs will be offered beginning January, 1994, and will be geared toward both existing and new Blue Cross and Blue Shield customers.
 In addition, the new subsidiary will enable consolidation of all present Blue Cross and Blue Shield dental operations into one dedicated unit for greater efficiency and effectiveness.
 "Direct Dental Network is in the process developing a large, statewide quality managed dental care network which will help reduce costs and become even more responsive to the needs of the important participants in today's dental marketplace: The purchaser of dental benefits, the covered employee, and the provider of care," said Tom Gordon, the new president of Direct Dental Network.
 "A major goal of DDN will be to seek input from dentists as well as the marketplace so the coverages we offer also satisfy the needs of the participating dentists in our network," Gordon said.
 -0- 12/2/93
 /CONTACT: Fred Hillmann of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey, 201-466-8755/


CO: Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey ST: New Jersey IN: INS SU:

WB -- NY079 -- 9873 12/02/93 14:05 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 2, 1993
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