fbpx

United Concordia leader wants to expose ‘secret diamond’

Daniel Lebish is sinking his teeth into his new job at United Concordia Companies Inc.

Daniel Lebish is sinking his teeth into his new job at United Concordia Companies Inc.

Lebish became chairman and chief executive officer of the Susquehanna Township, Dauphin County-based dental insurer Feb. 27. United Concordia is a subsidiary of Pittsburgh-based Highmark Inc.

Lebish is pulling double duty for Highmark. He has worked for the company for 11 years, the last five as chairman, president and CEO of HM Insurance Group, another Highmark subsidiary. Lebish continues that job as he takes the helm of United Concordia.

One of Lebish’s top priorities at United Concordia will be to increase its visibility as a major contributor to Central Pennsylvania’s economy. The company employs about 900 people in the region.

“I’m excited about taking what I think is kind of a secret diamond that exists here in Harrisburg and trying to get people to become more aware of it,” Lebish said.

Lebish recently sat down with the Business Journal to discuss his vision for United Concordia, trends in the dental industry and the importance of employers offering dental insurance. His comments have been edited for space and clarity.

CPBJ: Why did you decide to join United Concordia?

Lebish: I have a real interest in the subsidiaries and the subsidiary operations. I have an interest in the fact that the subsidiaries exist to create profits for a not-for-profit organization like Highmark. On top of that, United Concordia has been very successful, has grown significantly. I was excited to have the opportunity to become part of a company that is successful already and see if I can bring more value to it.

CPBJ: Why do you want to increase United Concordia’s recognition in the region?

Lebish: People think of United Concordia as this little subsidiary of Highmark. But it’s one of the top five dental carriers in the country, collecting over $1.3 billion in premiums. It’s a big dental company that exists right here, provides employment in this region and has significant growth opportunities. I’m hopeful that we can start to make the brand of United Concordia more visible to people.

CPBJ: What has United Concordia’s experience been with rate trends, which are still an important concern in the health-insurance business?

Lebish: Dental increases have been flat, significantly less than health increases have been over the past four to five years. The trend for dental increases has been less than 5 percent, probably running between 2 and 4 percent. It hasn’t been experiencing the same sort of increases that you see on the health side. In health, (rates are) driven so much by utilization. As the population of our country ages, utilization grows, and that drives health-claims costs up and drives health-insurance premiums up. Dental, I don’t think, experiences the same pressure on utilization. There are standard, consistent needs that people have when it comes to dental.

CPBJ: Are there any particular trends affecting the dental-benefits industry?

Lebish: One of the most significant trends and opportunities that I’ve heard about is that there is more and more data and research showing a connection between dental health and general health. There are connections between certain types of procedures and checkups on the dental side that, if you’re staying on top of, ultimately can have an impact on your overall health. I think you’re going to see more and more of a connection between dental and general health. Another trend affecting dental is that there are fewer and fewer dentists being produced. There is a shortage of dentists. This ultimately leads to upward pressure on pricing because, with supply and demand, if you have less supply, those people who are providing that supply can demand a greater price. We’re going to have to make sure that there are enough dentists in enough regions so people have access to the care they need.

CPBJ: Why should businesses care about offering dental insurance?

Lebish: Employers have to compete for employees, and so they have to think about ways that they can recruit and retain a quality workforce. Dental, as a core benefit, is probably second to health insurance as a tool for recruiting and retaining employees. Secondly, if the research continues to show that there’s a direct connection between dental health and some other health issues, then it’s even more important to offer dental benefits. If people overlook their dental hygiene and their dental care, it’s going to have an impact on their overall health. That’s going to affect the health claims that organizations have.

Business Events

Healthcare Symposium

Friday, August 14, 2020
Healthcare Symposium

Diversity and Inclusion Summit

Monday, August 31, 2020
Diversity and Inclusion Summit

2020 Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies

Wednesday, September 09, 2020
2020 Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies

The Future of Higher Ed Summit

Tuesday, September 29, 2020
The Future of Higher Ed Summit