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Guardian Makes the Cost of Dental Care More Transparent With New Online Tool
Date:7/1/2008

Cost Estimator Empowers Members to Save Money and Estimate Out-of-Pocket

Expenses

NEW YORK, July 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Guardian dental plan members can now, with just a few clicks of a mouse, receive cost estimates on dental procedures -- before treatment -- and compare the financial impact of visiting an in-network versus out-of-network dentist.

The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), a leading provider of employee and voluntary benefits for small and mid-size companies, is offering the Cost Estimator tool to empower dental plan members to make better decisions to help improve their oral health and use their benefits wisely.

With most dental plans, members don't always have immediate access to dental procedure cost estimates, or the ability to quickly determine the price difference between in-network and out-of-network dentists.

"Could you imagine shopping at the supermarket without product labels and price tags?" said Richard Goren, DDS, 2nd vice president, Guardian Group Dental. "You really wouldn't know if you found a great deal. But shopping without a price tag is what many consumers face when they select their dental care provider. With our new Cost Estimator tool, employees can find out the approximate cost of services before they reach the dental office. This enhancement is in addition to the benefit of working with Guardian, a company that has one of the largest dental networks in the United States and one of the industry's broadest selections of dental, life, disability, voluntary and health insurance plan options for small to mid-size companies."

In addition to access to price estimates for the most prevalent dental treatments and conditions, the Cost Estimator:

-- Features a dental glossary where members can find descriptions of key dental terms.

-- Facilitates searches for Guardian Dental network dentists.

-- Provides members with a link to a dental educational content site, so they can take advantage of articles on how to maintain good oral health and its impact on their overall health and well-being.

The Cost Estimator and other easy-to-use online tools are available at http://www.GuardianAnytime.com. Members can find information that empowers them to take better care of their oral and overall health, including:

-- Tips for a healthy smile. Topics include information about getting the right care, managing children's dental health, and preventing and recognizing dental problems.

-- A provider locator. Members can create a customized list of providers based on their preferences, or look up a specific provider.

-- Maps and directions to dental offices.

"Dental insurance is a popular and relatively low cost benefit," said Chris Swanker, vice president, Guardian Group Dental. "But in the face of economic uncertainty and cost pressures from healthcare, Guardian is committed to improving oral health, keeping dental care affordable and saving our members and planholders money. Price transparency is the wave of the future in dental care and empowers consumers to make better decisions that will ultimately benefit employers and employees."

Guardian specializes in providing employee benefits to small and mid-size companies. Guardian serves more than 120,000 employers, and 6 million employees and their families. The company has issued a series of educational surveys and reports to help employees, employers and benefit decision makers better understand how they can jumpstart their financial lives, and improve employee recruitment, retention and satisfaction by maximizing the use and power of their workplace coverage. Four reports currently available in the series include:

-- Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on Group Medical

-- Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on Dental

-- Benefits & Behavior: Spotlight on Group Life and Disability Insurance

-- Benefits & Behavior: The Voice of American Business Owners and Benefit Decision Makers Today

The reports can be found at http://www.GuardianBenefits.com.

About Guardian

Founded in 1860, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY (Guardian) is one of the largest mutual life insurance companies in the United States. As of December 31, 2007, Guardian and its subsidiaries had $41.3 billion in assets (on a consolidated statutory basis). With close to 3,000 financial representatives and 80 agencies nationwide, Guardian and its subsidiaries protect individuals, small business owners, and their employees with life, disability, health, long-term care and dental insurance products, and offer 401(k), annuities, and other financial products and trust services. Specializing in the small to mid-size business market, Guardian's Group business unit serves more than 120,000 employers, 6 million employees, and their families. More information about Guardian can be obtained at: http://www.GuardianLife.com.


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SOURCE The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
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