Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oral Cancer Now Covered under Specialty Benefits Dental Plans

`Early Warning' for Oral Cancer Now Covered under UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits Dental Plans

Coverage Applies to New Screening Test Used by Dentists

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn.-- May 13, 2008 --UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits now provides coverage under all of its insured dental plans for a new oral cancer screening test for potential abnormalities inside the mouth, including premalignant lesions and oral cancer.

The test, which uses light-contrast technology, can improve a dentist's ability to identify, evaluate and monitor lesions that are difficult to see using visual inspection under conventional lighting.

"Evidence shows that dentists can serve as a valuable 'early warning' system for patients who have signs of oral cancer," said Dr. Michael Weitzner, vice president of clinical product development for UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits dental unit.

More than 34,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. The death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high - not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development. Studies confirm that survival does correlate with stage, making early diagnosis and treatment optimal for this disease and may have a positive impact on an individual's medical costs (Journal of the American Dental Association, Vol. 132, Nov. 2001).

By covering this type of oral cancer screening, UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits dental unit is renewing its longstanding commitment to early detection of oral cancer. In addition to oral cancer screening, UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits dental plans have covered brush biopsies since 2005 when the American Dental Association first introduced a current dental terminology (CDT) code for the procedure. Screening is covered once a year for individuals, starting at age 30. UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits' focus on wellness continues to build programs and plan enhancements that promote individuals' ability to better manage their overall health as well as their future medical and dental costs.

About UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits

UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits offers a broad array of specialty benefits, including vision, dental, group and voluntary insurance, worksite individual insurance and non-insurance programs. UnitedHealthcare Specialty Benefits is a business unit of OptumHealth, the health and wellness unit of UnitedHealth Group, Inc. (NYSE:UNH). More information about OptumHealth can be found at www.optumhealth.com/.

Contacts

OptumHealth
Ann Fleischauer, Director, External Communications
763-797-2652

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