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Regular Dental and Vision Exams Can Uncover Symptoms
of Systemic Disease and Medical Complications

CONTACT: Stacey Chazin, 215-238-8500

ATLANTA (January 5, 2005)- While employers have long-known that access to dental and vision benefits is vital for promoting dental disease prevention and early detection of eye disease, recent studies have shown that symptoms uncovered through routine dental and vision exams can indicate broader, more costly medical problems.

Consider the following:
Regular eye exams can help ensure the early diagnosis and clinical intervention of systemic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.
According to a study published in the December 2004 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology, panoramic dental x-rays, which show the whole jaw, can reveal the beginnings of low skeletal bone mineral density, the first step in osteoporosis.
Researchers from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine found that calcifications in the carotid arteries, which can be seen on standard panoramic dental x-rays, can serve as significant predictors of death from cardiovascular disease.
An oral examination and dental history can offer insight to the presence of other serious medical complications, including prenatal infections, cardiac infections and immune system problems.

“By making routine dental and vision care accessible and affordable for employees, employers can address a broader range of health needs and costs than previously known,” says CompBenefits President and CEO, Kirk Rothrock. “Dental and vision exams which identify symptoms of illness can facilitate earlier diagnosis and treatment – contributing to better health outcomes and lower long-term costs of care.”

“Employers who offer and encourage utilization of dental and vision benefits on a voluntary basis can actually reap this value at no cost to themselves,” adds Rothrock. “With 48 state governments and most private sector companies already offering voluntary dental and vision coverage, the potential impact of these benefits on employee health, costs of care, employee satisfaction, and work loss is tremendous.”

The United States Government – the nation’s largest single employer – is expected in 2006 to join those offering employees access to voluntary dental and vision benefits. The Federal Employee Dental and Vision Benefits Enhancement Act of 2004, signed this year by both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, would give Federal employees and retirees the opportunity to purchase voluntary dental and vision benefits for themselves and their families. It is expected to be signed by President Bush.

About CompBenefits CompBenefits, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is a nationally recognized leader in the development and administration of dental and vision benefit plans. By providing affordable plans to over 4.5 million members in the South, Midwest and Texas through 17,000 employer groups and a 27,000-strong provider network, CompBenefits is committed to expanding its leadership role in the dental and vision benefits industry.


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