NU Online News Service, April 8, 2003, 11:29 a.m. EDT – SafeGuard Health Enterprises Inc., Aliso Viejo, Calif., has agreed to buy a dental subsidiary from Health Net Inc., Los Angeles. SafeGuard has also issued a letter stating that it intends to buy Health Net’s vision care subsidiary.

The price and other terms were not immediately available, but SafeGuard says it hopes to get permission from regulators to complete the deals by the end of the year.

Health Net would keep the Health Net Dental and Vision brand names, but Health Net medical sales representatives would sell products underwritten and administered by other companies.

SafeGuard reported in March that it was providing or administering dental coverage for 800,000 people in California, Florida and Texas.

Completing the proposed Health Net deals would give SafeGuard a total of 1.4 million dental and vision plan members, SafeGuard says.

In related news, Health Net says it has signed a letter of intent to distribute vision care programs from EyeMed Vision Care L.L.C., Mason, Ohio, together with Health Net medical plans.

The letter of intent calls for EyeMed to administer Health Net-branded vision products, Health Net says.