Delta Dental of Colorado 2017 Annual Report


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Helen Drexler

Finding Passion & Purpose in the Smile Stories

It’s been 59 years since Delta Dental of Colorado started doing business. You’d think after all that time, we would've lost a little of the passion for oral health that our founding dentists had. But it’s simply not so. Every day, I watch as Delta Dental employees find purpose in the stories of our subscribers, providers, employers, and brokers. They're driven to improve the oral health of those who are Delta Dental members and those who are not. The healthy smiles on the faces of all Coloradans is what inspires us to continue to improve our products and service and do more for the people of Colorado…those with access to care and those without.

Our customers’ experiences and journeys push us to find better ways to improve oral health outcomes every day. From creating innovative new product offerings like Right Start 4 KidsSM to partnering with organizations across the state to educate people about the connection between oral and overall health in our Word of Mouth campaign, we're committed to innovation, education, and outreach to help people understand the value of dental insurance and take control of their oral health to achieve better overall health.

In partnership with our Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, we are proud to put the oral health of the people of Colorado first. We know there is a story behind every smile, and we want to share those smile stories with you to foster better understanding of the importance of oral health. It’s why we do what we do, and it’s why I am proud to be the president and CEO of this amazing organization.

Helen Drexler
President & CEO
Delta Dental of Colorado


Innovating to find new ways to drive better oral health outcomes for our members and all Coloradans.

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Right Start 4 KidsSM

Did you know that cavities are the most chronic childhood disease? Cavities are five times more common than asthma. Children with pain from tooth decay typically miss more school and have lower grades than their peers, not to mention the lost work hours for parents. To give kids "the right start for a bright future," Delta Dental of Colorado introduced Right Start 4 Kids in 2017. This unique plan feature removes cost barriers to dental care for children by covering kids up to age 13 at 100% coinsurance for all diagnostic & preventive, basic, and major services (covered under the adult plan up to the annual maximum with no deductible as long as an in-network provider is seen).

Delta Dental of Colorado piloted this product feature on their own employee dental plan early in the year and then began to roll it out to a small number of large groups as the year progressed. Right Start 4 Kids was finally added as a standard feature of most of our small group plans for 2018. Close to 12,000 Delta Dental members are now covered by Right Start 4 Kids. Looking forward, we hope to continue to add this benefit to more of our groups of all sizes and aggregate data to determine the impact this benefit has had on this important membership segment.

Voice of the Customer

  • Using customer feedback and data to improve service.
  • Creating shared accountability for success and failure.

Customer Experience Council

  • Exploring the unique journeys of all stakeholders to ensure the best experience possible.
  • Testing new programs and services to meet and exceed customer expectations.


  • Reimagining health care through innovation.
  • Bringing together entrepreneurs, start-ups, established health care organizations, academic institutions, and nonprofits to drive change.

Vendor Summit

  • Convening benefit providers in an effort to align a member's health care journey.
  • Leading the way to integrate not just the way our members receive care but the way we administer care.


Creating more access points for dental benefits and oral health care and increasing members’ awareness of their dental benefits.

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Membership Numbers for 2017

CHP+ Outreach

  • Providing low-cost dental coverage to more than 123,000 kids in Colorado.
  • Educating parents about the importance of oral health.

SpringRock Dental

  • Increasing access to dental care to underserved communities.
  • Ensuring that dental care is the highest quality for Medicaid, CHP+, and uninsured patients.


Educating people about the connection between oral and overall health and the importance of taking care of both.

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Words of Wellness

Delta Dental of Colorado is not just the state's leading dental benefits company; we are also a nonprofit with a mission to improve the oral health of the communities we serve.

For the past several years, we’ve been actively promoting the message throughout Colorado that caring for your oral health is important because of the strong connection to overall health. We’ve partnered with a growing number of leading organizations to ensure Coloradans understand this message as well. We created a fact sheet that details the physical and financial consequences of poor oral health, and our coalition is looking for more ways to educate all Coloradans about this important link.

In our work with oral health partners in the community, our Delta Dental network providers, our subscribers, and even our Delta Dental employees, we have heard and collected several stories that highlight the real-life connection between oral and overall health. It really hit home for us as a company this year as our CEO’s adult son dealt with a major medical issue. She talked about that experience and how it illuminated the importance of oral health to overall health.

We encourage you to view the videos and stories included on the Words of Wellness webpage. Do you have a story to share with us? Send it to

Social Media Collaborative

  • Reaching Coloradans through social media to share oral health information.
  • Bringing fun and innovative oral health content online to engage and educate more people.

Land of Smiles

  • Increasing students’ knowledge about oral health through theater and fun.
  • Getting oral health messages out to all areas of the state.

Outreach &Advocacy

Championing healthy smiles throughout Colorado and positively impacting oral health care in the state.

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Expanding our Mission to Better Work with Communities

For twenty years, Delta Dental of Colorado has funded the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation to support initiatives and grants, establish partnerships, and build awareness about eradicating childhood tooth decay.

“2017 was a year characterized by growth, change, and impact,” said Allison Cusick, Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation executive director.

In 2017, the foundation worked with grantees and partners to reach communities across Colorado. We expended $3.23 million in funding to support innovative programs that improve oral health and overall health, including:

  • Training dental, medical, and pharmacy students together to identify the connection between oral health and overall health, the University of Colorado School of Dental Medicine concluded its first semester of a collaborative program with Johnson & Wales University where students learned how to cook nutritious meals together. The culinary class was featured in stories in The Denver Post and CW2.
  • Knowing our work would begin to address oral health inequities, we worked with the Colorado Health Institute to complete an oral health environmental scan to identify data related to those disparities. In September, the foundation convened community partners at the Colorado Health Foundation to discuss how to best coordinate efforts to improve oral health outcomes across the state.
  • Teaming up to eliminate childhood tooth decay in the Pueblo region, the South Eastern Colorado Area Health Education Center (SECAHEC) engaged volunteers to meet with the community in their familiar spaces. SECAHEC volunteer and intern Jasmine Hall talked to KOAA about building public will and using the Cavities Get Around campaign messaging in her Women, Infants, Children (WIC) outreach.

As we move into 2018, the foundation looks forward to embarking on a journey to understand oral health equity. We will be expanding our community partnerships and welcoming voices from across the state to help shape our efforts to improve the oral health of all Coloradans.

Community Involvement

Making connections in the communities we live and work in and collaborating to find solutions to oral health issues.

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Commitment to Community Programs that Improve Oral Health and Well-Being

The community engagement program at Delta Dental of Colorado connects employees with causes that impact our communities. Our mission-building activities strengthen our partnerships with Colorado’s nonprofits, both big and small, in three ways:

  1. Employee engagement through volunteerism, financial donations, and board participation.
  2. Community outreach through supporting the work of other nonprofits through programs, events, and sponsorships.
  3. Strategic community partnerships through including oral health as part of all health conversations and activities.

In 2017, we donated more than 145,000 toothbrushes to Colorado organizations through company-sponsored events, the Land of Smiles program, and our online toothbrush donation form. The Women's Resource Agency in Colorado Springs requested 500 toothbrushes and told us, “We had a situation where a woman came to us missing two of her front teeth. We were able to find a dentist willing to help replace those teeth at no charge so she could have the confidence to go out on interviews. Having dental supplies we can give to our clients would be very impactful and allow other women clients to share in the confidence the above mentioned woman experienced.”

Our employees donated more than 657 volunteer hours at community events as well as our day of service. Inside Delta Dental of Colorado, community engagement created “Ready to Commit?” the company’s 2017 award-winning Mile High United Way giving campaign. Throughout the year, employees participated in fun, feel-good activities including collecting 2,907 diapers and 3,570 pounds of food to help Colorado families. We also came together to donate $80,624 to United Way programs.

By inspiring a community-focused culture at Delta Dental of Colorado and encouraging employees to give back, these company activities complement the foundation’s philanthropic reach to make the greatest possible impact on oral health across the state.

Delta Dental of Colorado employees served on 24 boards last year

Provider Network

Ensuring that providers have the tools and support they need to give their Delta Dental patients the best care possible.

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Tools to Help Providers Strengthen Outreach

Dentalytics, initially introduced in 2015, is a Web-based tool for participating Delta Dental network providers. This free, easy-to-use dashboard gives providers information based on six different categories that include age and certain preventive care given such as fluoride treatments, molar sealants, etc.

For the past two years, Delta Dental of Colorado's network and clinical management teams have been working with dental offices to provide feedback on their practice performance, month by month, with analytics that track these important preventive visits. The regular visits conducted by our team of registered dental hygienists not only help our providers identify patients who are in need of the preventive care within each category, they also help our members—their patients—in getting the care they deserve and ensuring that they get it in a timely fashion.

Network Management Team Transformation

  • Adding a strong medical background that brings full circle our goal of connecting oral and overall health.
  • Solidifying our clinical expertise among dental insurers.

Strength of Our Clinical Team

  • Increasing our overall bench strength with the addition of a full-time dental hygienist.
  • Deploying a faster and more effective way to identify fraud and abuse in the claims approval process.

Hypertension Identification Pilot

  • Identifying high blood pressure during a regular dental visit is an easy way to help people understand the connection between oral and overall health.
  • Screening patients resulted in the identification of several individuals who were in hypertensive crisis.

Financial Results

For every dollar earned in 2016, we spent: 87¢ on Dental Claims Payments, 12%cent; on Administrative Costs, and 1¢ on Reserves

Balance Sheet

Years Ended December 31 (in thousands)

Assets 2017 2016
Cash and investments $132,984 $120,784
Accounts receivable, net 23,304 20,598
Property and equipment, net and other assets 7,391 6,762
Total Assets $163,679 $148,144
Unpaid claims and claim adjustment expenses 18,742 15,731
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities 14,282 14,848
Total Liabilities $33,024 $30,579
Company reserves, restricted 0 81
Company reserves, unrestricted 130,655 117,484
Total Reserves $130,655 $117,565
Total Liabilities & Reserves $163,679 $148,144

Statement of Operations & Changes in Reserves

Years Ended December 31 (in thousands)

Total revenue from operations $410,159 $380,920
Net investment income 11,895 5,487
Total Revenue $422,054 $386,407
Benefits for services to members and operating expenses 404,309 371,933
Grants and community engagement expenditures 4,655 7,200
Net change in reserves 13,090 $7,274
Reserves at beginning of year 117,565 $110,297
Reserves at End of Year $130,655 $117,565

* The financial results presented above combine the operations of Delta Dental of Colorado, the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation, and SpringRock Dental. Included in those financial results are contributions made from Delta Dental of Colorado to the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation of $6.5 million and $3.7 million for 2017 and 2016, respectively. With these contributions, the Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation sponsors programs to elevate the well-being of all Coloradans by advancing oral health equity.

Board of Trustees

2017 Board of Trustees

(Back, Left to Right):

Rich Call, DMD
Retired DMD
Hassan Salem
President, U.S. Bank – Colorado, and Regional President, U.S. Commercial Banking – CO, NV, UT, AZ
Bruce N. Calogne, MD, MPH
President and CEO, The Colorado Trust
Ann Somers, DDS
Thomas Swain, DDS
General Dentist
Mary Noonan
Retired Insurance Industry Executive
Walt Vogl, DDS
General Dentist
Kelly J. Brough
President and CEO, Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
John P. Hopkins
Retired Chief Executive Officer, Rocky Mountain Health Plans
Leo Tokar
Senior Vice President, Health & Welfare Practice, Lockton Companies

(Front, Left to Right):

Marilyn Taylor*
Retired Vice President for Human Resources, Xcel Energy
Kim Kretsch, DMD
Pediatric Dentist
Helen Drexler
President and CEO, Delta Dental of Colorado
Brandon Owen, DDS
General Dentist
Ann Block
Retired Senior VP, Frontier Airlines

* 2017 Chairman, Delta Dental of Colorado Board of Trustees

Leadership Team

2017 Leadership Team

(Back, Left to Right):

Cheryl Lerner, DDS
Chief Clinical Officer
Kathy Jacoby
Vice President of Marketing & Member Experience
Greg Vochis, CPA
Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Allison Cusick
Executive Director, Delta Dental of Colorado Foundation

(Front, Left to Right):

Dave Gerbus, JD
Vice President of Administration and General Counsel
Helen Drexler
President and Chief Executive Officer
Mark Thompson
Vice President of Sales & Broker/Group Experience