NU Online News Service, July 15, 3:05 p.m. – Employee benefits provider Principal Financial Group, Des Moines, Iowa, has signed an agreement with Western Dental Services, Inc., City of Orange, Calif., to distribute a combined dental insured and dental HMO product to California employers.

The agreement would make available to employers in the state a triple-option plan that combines an insured exclusive provider organization, insured preferred provider organization and dental HMO plan. Employees would be able to choose the one that suited them best, either from a standpoint of available providers or from a cost standpoint.

“Employees can move between the three plans annually at reenrollment, consistent with the policy anniversary, and employers can benefit from subsequent cost savings,” says Mike Downing, vice president, non-medical benefit sales, for Principal Financial.

Mark Movic, vice president, insured health products, for Principal Financial, notes that California dominates the dental benefits market. “This agreement positions us to approach the market with a unique benefit offering in a state where projected growth in dental enrollment leads the nation,” he says