I had just finished the family’s application into a new Covered California health plan when I realized that we hadn’t chosen a pediatric dental plan for their son. I had that sinking feeling when I screw up an application…or did I? According to a customer service agent, Covered California hasn’t released the children’s dental plans.
Where’s Waldo and the dental plan?
After frantically searching the Covered California enrollment website for the missed section on the children’s dental, and finding nothing, I finally resorted to calling Covered California and asking for directions. To my surprise I learned that Pediatric Dental is not on the Covered California map, yet.
Pediatric dental lost by design
A very friendly customer service gentleman at Covered California informed me that they hadn’t released the children’s dental plans. When the pediatric dental plans are released, people who have enrolled will have to login and select dental insurance for their child or children. This seems a little more than an epic failure of planning…or was it designed this way? Covered California Releases Pediatric Dental Plans
Essential health benefit missing in action
Pediatric dental is one of the 10 essential health benefits along with children’s vision. Pediatric vision benefits will be bundled into all health plans. Covered California decided to make the pediatric dental benefit a “stand alone” plan that parents must select separately. There will also be an additional premium that the parents must pay for the children’s dental, if they are ever released.
Profit before consumers
This all stems from Covered California putting the interest of “dental only” insurance providers ahead of California consumers. The major health insurance companies like Blue Cross, Blue Shield, and Health Net already have dental plans with contracted dentists. Stand alone dental plans like Delta Dental, Liberty and Premier Access wanted and lobbied for a piece of the dental pie. Instead of making the independent dental plans cut a deal to be bundled in the medical insurance, Covered California caved and developed the stand alone dental plan.
Don’t bundle up your dentist
Health Net wanted to bundle their Pediatric Dental plan into their health plan but Covered California said “No”. Health plans outside the exchange will have bundled pediatric dental. Why can’t consumers have bundled pediatric dental instead of a fiasco? Go ask Covered California when you have to make that decision. Children on Medi-Cal probably won’t have this problem because Denti-Cal is built into their plans.
More confusion to come
The word earlier was that all adults would have to select a pediatric dental plan, because it is one of the essential health benefits, but the premium for adults for the plan would be waived. I didn’t want to ask if people without children will also have to select a children’s dental plan even if they don’t have young ones under 19.
Please tell me I’m wrong
Covered California…please tell me I am wrong. Please tell me I missed enrolling my client’s child in a dental plan. Above all, please just give us some information. I hope the Executive Director Peter Lee never wonders why health agents are just sick and frustrated of dealing with Covered California when they fail to give agents and consumers all the information. And let’s be absolutely clear. This is not a failure of either the health or dental insurance which will work just like it always has. This failure is placed on the doorstep of the Covered California bureaucracy.