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HANK Winter 2012

Union Adds to Northwest Dental Plan Growth

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The Northwest is the only Kaiser Permanente region with a dental program.

KPNW Dental Program gets new members

Whenever a group moves its business from a competitive, for-profit plan to Kaiser Permanente, it’s cause for celebration. That was the case in the Northwest region in July 2011, when SEIU Local 49 changed its benefit plan to make KPNW Dental Program its members’ exclusive dental provider.

Local 49’s selection represented the largest jump in dental program membership since 1998.

KP’s sales and account management team, working with an outside broker and a task group of KP and Union Coalition leaders, developed a proposal that was more affordable than the plan offered under the SEIU Health and Welfare Fund trust.

Both Meg Niemi, president of Local 49, and Anna Roberts, an organizer with the union, saw the benefit of switching to KP for their dental insurer. And it went beyond just the dollars and cents.

“We definitely know that our members help provide quality care and KP offered us a package that allowed us to bring our members under the KP Dental Program,” says Roberts.

“Our members love the service and quality they receive as patients at Kaiser Permanente,” says Neimi. “It makes a lot of sense to them to be part of the Dental Program, since they are already receiving medical health insurance with KP.”

Working in partnership to secure this account made sense to sales and account management staff as well.

“There is such a unique partnership that exists at Kaiser Permanente, where our union partners and dental partners really act as one,” says Ehren Cline, senior account manager, Labor and Trust. “The strong ties and mutual goals are evident in the dental sale of Local 49. What is most important is that the Local 49 members will receive the best care at the best price.”

The KPNW Dental Care Program provides dental care to 195,000 members and employs 700 general dentists, specialists and staff. It is the largest employer of unionized dental care employees in the area.

Our members love the service and quality they receive as patients at Kaiser Permanente. It makes a lot of sense to them to be part of the Dental Program, since they are already receiving medical health insurance with KP.

Meg Niemi
President, Local 49
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