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Principal's network buy poses risks, benefits

The Principal Financial Group in Des Moines, IA, has acquired Diversified Dental Services (DDS), Inc., a Nevada-based independent dental PPO (DPPO). Although such a tactic for network building is quicker than assembling a panel from scratch, it comes with its own set of challenges, experts say. Combining claims systems and, especially when the paired products are a DPPO and a dental HMO (DHMO), member services operations can be an especially tricky endeavor. The DDS acquisition furthers The Principal's national dental network strategy of offering more providers and better pricing for members and business partners, says Deanna Strable, senior vice president of the specialty benefits division there.