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HHS posts early exchange dental player count

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The insurers selling dental coverage through the federal public exchanges may specialize more in 2015 than they have this year.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has given a glimpse of what next year’s public exchange dental market might look like in a new table.

In the table, HHS gives a count of the number of issuers that have indicated an interest in selling stand-alone dental plans (SADPs) statewide through each state exchange run by HHS.

The table does not give preliminary dental issuer counts for state-based Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchanges.

The table also leaves out states such as Oregon that have state-based exchanges this year but might turn their exchange programs over to HHS next year.

HHS based the 2015 dental issuer table, and a similar 2014 dental issuer table that was posted in early 2013, on results from a voluntary issuer notice program. 

Dental issuers are offering to sell both individual and small-group dental coverage through 101 slots at the 33 HHS-run exchanges.

A year ago, issuers were offering to sell individual and small-group dental coverage through 173 HHS-run exchange slots.

But issuers are showing more interest in selling only to individuals or only to small groups.

Issuers expect to ask for 26 HHS exchange slots to sell individual dental coverage only in 2015. Issuers were expecting to ask for just seven individual dental-only slots a year ago.

The issuers are thinking of using 46 small-group only exchange dental slots, up from seven.

A issuers say they want to use a total of 127 slots for individual dental plans.

The issuers do not have to follow through with expressions of interest in participating in the 2015 exchange program, and, in some cases, issuers that do apply could fail to get their plans certified, HHS officials say. 

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