NU Online News Service, April 15, 2005, 1:42 p.m. EDT

A unit of WellPoint Inc. has introduced a dental provider network program for California customers who are unable or unwilling to pay for dental insurance.[@@]

The WellPoint unit, Blue Cross of California, Thousand Oaks, Calif., has started selling SmileNet, a dental discount program for individuals, families and small groups that gives participants access to a network of 12,000 dentists who belong to the California Blue dental provider network.

The annual cost is $80 for single individuals and $120 for families.

For members of group plans, the annual cost is $84 for individuals and $120 for families.

Discounts on dental services range from 15% to 50%, California Blue says.