By Tony Edwards, DrBicuspid.com editor in chief

November 14, 2018 -- Four of the five biggest large-group dental carriers in the U.S. reported lower total dental premiums in 2018 than in 2017. Only the largest dental carrier, MetLife Dental, showed an increase in total premiums from 2017.

For this ranking, companies were ranked over a four-year period by total dental premiums to offer a wider look at trends. Premiums were chosen as the information was readily available to be confirmed, whereas the number of patients covered or total providers was not always available.

All data are taken from published figures, ranked by premiums reported on Form 5500 data as of March 2018 and accessed in November 2018. The source for the 2018 and 2017 data is the Employee Benefit Advisor. The source for the 2016 and 2015 data is the Employee Benefit News.

  1. MetLife Dental
    Total dental premiums in 2018: $1.438 billion
    Total dental premiums in 2017: $1.420 billion
    Total dental premiums in 2016: $1.364 billion
    Total dental premiums in 2015: $1.294 billion
    Increase 2015-2018: $144 million
    Corporate base: New York City
    Note: The company reported net income in the third quarter of 2018 of $880 million on November 1.
  2. Delta Dental of California
    Total dental premiums in 2018: $1.273 billion
    Total dental premiums in 2017: $1.294 billion
    Total dental premiums in 2016: $1.089 billion
    Total dental premiums in 2015: $1.153 billion
    Increase 2015-2018: $120 million
    Corporate base: San Francisco
    Note: The insurer recently fired its former CEO, Tony Barth. The company also paid $65 million in May to settle a class-action lawsuit with the California Dental Association.
  3. Aetna
    Total dental premiums in 2018: $554.1 million
    Total dental premiums in 2017: $568.2 million
    Total dental premiums in 2016: $529.4 million
    Total dental premiums in 2015: $499.7 million
    Increase 2015-2018: $54.4 million
    Corporate base: Hartford, CT
    Note: The insurer is in the process of being acquired by CVS Health, which is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2018, according to CVS.
  4. Cigna
    Total dental premiums in 2018: $330.6 million
    Total dental premiums in 2017: $346.8 million
    Total dental premiums in 2016: $312.1 million
    Total dental premiums in 2015: $284.9 million
    Increase 2015-2018: $45.7 million
    Corporate base: Bloomfield, CT
    Note: Cigna reported net income of $772 million for the third quarter of 2018.
  5. Guardian Life Insurance Company of America
    Total dental premiums in 2018: $297.4 million
    Total dental premiums in 2017: $323.6 million
    Total dental premiums in 2016: $294.4 million
    Total dental premiums in 2015: $272.5 million
    Increase 2018-2018: $24.9 million
    Corporate base: New York City
    Note: Guardian plans are available in 20 U.S. states, according to the company's website.

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