Covered California has quietly announced that they will not be offering individual and family dental plans through the exchange in 2015. The dumping of the family dental plan options comes after Covered California released a whole dental plan booklet of family dental plans in August of 2014. No reason was given as to why the dental plans will not be offered.
Family dental plans not offered in 2015
Mary Wantanabe, Acting Deputy Director of Sales for Covered California, announced that the family dental plans had been scrapped during a sales webinar on January 28th, 2015. The brief mention of the dental plans occurs on slide 34 of the Sales Division Webinar 9 presentation slides.(Download the slide presentation at the end of the post.) Just five months earlier Covered California was touting the new family dental plans and even released a booklet with all the plans and carriers that would be available. Covered California has lost another opportunity to help families by offering dental insurance that would have been relatively easy to purchase.
Dental dump confirmed
Covered California finally came clean on their inability to offer family dental plans as reported in the U-T San Diego by HealthCare Foundation Center for Health. Basically, they could figure out how to include family dental plans in the CalHEERS enrollment program. Perhaps Covered California should consult with their health insurance plan partners and ask them how they offer individual and family plans, small group health plans, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare Supplement plans, AND family dental plans all through one website.
Covered California family dental plans were good
The family dental plans to be offered were nothing exceptional. The benefits and rates were average for dental insurance currently being offered off the exchange. The only conditions for the family dental plans were that one adult household member had to be enrolled in a Covered California Qualified Health Plan and if one child enrolled, all the children in the family had to participate. What’s interesting is that Covered California went to all the work of designing the dental plan benefits, writing contracts, reviewing dental bids by the carriers and publishing a list of family dental plans with premium rates by region, only to drop the project. How can Covered California justify all the staff time in developing the family dental options and quietly kill it for 2015 without an explanation?
Covered California broken promises
Perhaps Covered California bit off more than they could chew. The dumping of the family dental plans is similar to their scrapping of the provider directories. After the online provider directories failed to work in 2013 we were told that they would be resurrected in time for 2015 open enrollment. Then in late 2014 they announced at a Covered California Board meeting that the directory of doctors by health plan would not be brought back to life for 2015. Why does Covered California keep making promises and announcing products only to buried them without an explanation to the public? Is a provider directory or marketing of dental plans more than their expensive CalHEERS enrollment program can handle?
At least children have dental benefits
Fortunately for children Covered California corrected their 2014 error by offering stand-alone pediatric dental plans by embedding children’s dental right into all health plans for 2015. Dental health is as important for adults as it is for children. The prospect of adding adult dental to a Covered California enrollment makes sense. Most families want dental insurance but it’s just another hassle to find a decent plan at a reasonable price. Consequently, most adults with individual and family plans never get around to purchasing dental insurance. Perhaps we’ll see the return of family dental in 2016 along with the new and improved provider directory.
Files for download-