UnitedHealthcare Dental - Horrible Benefits!
Useless Annual Maximum Benefit Amount - Complaint
For as long as both Hubby and I have had full time jobs with benefits, we have almost always elected to use my husband's benefits for medical and dental insurance (mainly because I liked their medical insurance more than mine). We would reevaluate this every November when our respective employers' open enrollment period would begin. It's a system that has worked well for us as the coverage has almost always been comperable between our two workplaces.
Last November, when my job's open enrollment was announced, I asked my husband if he had heard anything from his job about OE. He hadn't so I held off on making any changes until close to the end of my enrollment period when I asked him again about it. He said that they had told him that they woulnd't have any information for a few more weeks but as far as he knew, there hadn't been any talk that year about changing providers (it had been a concern in past years as Blue Cross was trying to jack up the prices as usual). Assuming that things were going to be status quo, I made no changes to my employee benefits aside from adding Baby Clutzy Deux to my list of dependants for life insurance and vision insurance (I always carried the vision since his job didn't have any at the time).
Two weeks after my job's OE period ended, my husband called me at work to tell me that his job was switching both the Medical and Dental benefits to UnitedHealthcare. Since they had [snip]footed around and waited until the second week in December to make this announcement, we were SOL. Fortunately all of our physicians were in-network, so that didn't have to change. As far as dental insurance was concerned, I didn't really have any problem with whatever they offered since we had never used the dental benefits no matter who carried them. We just had it as a "just in case."
This spring, we found out that Baby Clutzy has cavities. A lot of them. And they're going to require a lot of work beyond the usual fillings (long story, not going into that). Anyway, we got an estimate from the dentist and I noticed that what was actually listed as the patient's responsibility (about $900 out of the nearly $5K total bill) was much less than what they had told me would be my portion (they told me over the phone that I would be responsible for about $3200 of this bill). I looked at the benefits sheet for our dental insurance and I saw the line that said "Annual Benefit Maximum" was only $1000. I called UnitedHealthcare (their people are very polite, I'll give them that) and they confirmed that they will only pay about $1000 per year per person. What good is that when you're looking at work like this? It was bad enough that I had to search high and low for a pediatric dentist that was "in network" because the insurance would pay nothing for an out of network dentist, but now the most they'll pay is $1000? I thought maybe this was par for the course for all dental insurances (they want prevention and early intervention rather than waiting until something like this happens, I'm sure), but then I looked over the benefits that my employer's dental insurance provided (MetLife), their annual max was $3000!
There's plenty of blame to go around here. We shouldn't have waited so long to take Baby Clutzy to the dentist. But I blame my husband's job for waiting so long to let their workers know that their benefits would be changing (had we known that they were switching providers, I would have gotten on my insurance even before I knew the specifics), I blame the HR lady for convincing my husband to take the lower dental insurance that pays nothing for out of network (I wanted the better paying one that would have paid almost same for out of network as in network) even though that wouldn't have helped the benefit max (same for both plans). And I blame UnitedHealthcare for giving us such useless dental insurance for almost the same cost as I would have paid for the better coverage through my employer!