NU Online News Service, Sept. 8, 2004, 5:23 p.m. EDT

The services unit of AARP, Washington, has picked the Delta Dental Insurance Company unit of Dentegra Group Inc., San Francisco, to help it expand its dental insurance program.[@@]

Delta Dental now is offering dental coverage to AARP members in 21 states and the District of Columbia. The company hopes to make the coverage available to all 35 million AARP members by 2005.

AARP, which is open to U.S. residents over age 50, points out that Medicare and most state Medicaid programs do not cover routine dental care.

The new AARP/Dentegra plan will cover basic preventive care, diagnostic procedures, root canal treatments and tooth extractions immediately. After 12 months, the plan will cover gum treatments and dentures, AARP says.