NU Online News Service, Nov. 26, 11:20 a.m. – Maryland insurance regulators say Dental Benefit Providers of Maryland Inc., Baltimore, a nonprofit company, is worth $471,728.

Consultants for Dental Benefit told regulators the company was worth only $170,000.

A consultant working for state regulators put the value at more than $900,000.

Maryland Insurance Commissioner Steve Larsen says he came up with the $471,728 figure after evaluating the methods and assumptions used in both of the valuations.

The Dental Benefit ruling is the first ruling in Maryland since the state enacted a law governing conversions of nonprofit health insurers and hospitals in 1997.

The law says that nonprofit companies hold their assets in trust for the public.

Under the law, a nonprofit company that wants to convert must first compensate the public by giving the fair market value of its public assets to the Maryland Health Care Foundation, a state health care charity.

UnitedHealth Group Inc., Minnetonka, Minn., and Irongate L.L.C., for-profit companies, acquired DBP Inc., the parent company of Dental Benefit, in 1998.

Dental Benefit is converting because Maryland regulators required the conversion when they approved the UnitedHealth deal.