Dental claims firm to add 120 Iron Range jobsDeCare Dental, with 158 employees in Gilbert currently, is one of the nation’s largest dental benefit management companies.
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board will hold a special meeting Friday to approve a new $2 million investment in the DeCare Dental facility in Gilbert in a move officials say will spur 120 new jobs.
The company already has 158 jobs at a converted grocery store and plans to grow to nearly 300 when the expansion is complete.
While you may have never have heard of it, DeCare is one of the nation’s largest dental benefit management companies, providing support services for big insurance companies including 16 Blue Cross plans, two Delta plans and Securian Dental. The Gilbert office staff provides customer service, claims service, sales support and business renewal services to customers nationwide.
The Gilbert employees include customer service for consumers who have issues with their dental insurance, but also with dental insurance brokers who need technical help in selling their products to employers.
“We have another center in Iowa but Gilbert is really the focus of our customer service operations,” said Peter Stathopoulos, vice president of marketing for the Eagan, Minn.-based company. He said the company chose Gilbert because of the region’s educated, well-trained and stable work force.
The proposed 10,260-square-foot expansion would provide space to accommodate 120 additional work stations in the facility, bringing its total capacity to 335 work stations.
The company first moved to the Iron Range in 2000 when the IRRRB purchased and renovated the former IGA building in Gilbert. The IRRRB leases the building to DeCare.
“We are pleased to continue our relationship with such a strong business partner that has maintained an integral presence in the region for over a decade and continues to create new jobs,” said Tony Sertich, IRRRB commissioner, in a statement Tuesday. Sertich said IRRRB economic development staff has been in discussions with DeCare since last summer over the expansion.
The company says it has more than $1 billion in managed revenue and a 40-year track record. DeCare is a wholly owned subsidiary of WellPoint Inc., the nation’s largest health benefits provider. Collectively, the 10 brands DeCare Dental serves support 4.6 million individuals in more than 25,000 employer groups as well as nonprofit organizations, government entities and small to mid-size businesses