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Is Growth of Dental PPO Networks Sustainable?

Posted by Aaron Groffman on Fri, Nov 16, 2012

We recently analyzed the top 15 dental PPO networks and discovered several important trends in the dental PPO market. One of the most notable trends is that, so far, dental PPO networks continue to grow.

More dentists are contracting each year. In March 2012, the average national dental PPO network[1] contracted with more than 72,000 unique dentists, up 8.7% from the prior year. Additionally, reported access points increased 22%, much faster than the growth in unique dentists. Based on these two factors, on average, the number of locations a dentist practiced at grew from just over 2 in 2011 to 2.25 in 2012.

We’ve heard concerns that some network directories might be overstating access, so we dug deeper into the claims data provided by many of our clients.  We found that, of the average 2.25 locations per dentist that directories claim, we were able to confirm an average of 1.34 practicing locations.  A practicing location is one where there was confirmed claims activity for the dentist during the last twelve months.  As we receive more and more claims data from clients, the number of practicing locations will most likely increase.

With all this growth of dental PPO networks in recent years, we have to ask: is it sustainable?


[1] The average of the top 15 national dental PPO networks.

Tags: network growth, dental, dental insurance, dental benefits, dental insurer, dentists, dental provider

 

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