How to Handle This..??

Updated on August 29, 2009
A.B. asks from Broadway, NC
18 answers

Basically, I emailed my stepdaughter's mother to give her some info. about the dental insurance I was about to enroll my sd in, and she told me that she just started working for a DDS and can get their dental work for free but she was "sure they'd be glad to have an insurance to bill instead of writing it off!" Sooo...we (my dh and I) DO have to pay for the insurance...but should I just not enroll her and let her go to where her mom works? (its a good, accredited dentist) I guess I'm asking should we do it that way or just let her get it for free??? I don't want my sd's mother to get all worked up over it, but if its going to save money...???

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the advice! I discussed it with my husband (he's deployed so I try to handle everything on my own if I can) and in accordance with the general consensus here, I've enrolled her. Apparently pediatric dental accidents (that are always costly!) are common so I spoke with sd's mom and she agreed she'd take care of any co-pays (our medical doesn't have copays so its never come up) whether they get written off or not is her business. The child support/visitation agreement is getting updated asap so all this will be in writing. I just try to be careful when I deal with her, she sometimes can be volatile and emotional and I want to handle things in a sensitive manner with her. Don't want any conflicts if we can help it! Thanks again!

More Answers



answers from Nashville on

go on and get the insurance. that way if she looses her job it won't can back to bit you in the rear. you can't have to much coverage. mom of 7, R.



answers from Jacksonville on

Get the insurance. United Concordia is not that much for family care and what if she needs fillings or something that the dentist won't cover pro bono.



answers from Memphis on

With your insurance, wouldn't you still have to pay a percentage of the cost? That is how mine is and if she can get it for free, it wouldn't make sense to do that. I wouldn't hesitate to let her know that if she can get the work done for free that would be the better way to go. I know you don't want any drama, but it wouldn't be fair for you to have to pay for something that she can get for free. Money is tight these days! Hopefully she will understand that! Good luck...



answers from Raleigh on

I'd get the insurance because you never know what life will throw your way. Mom might lose her job, or the free dental care might only be for cleanings. Also, mom might be misinformed about how much dental care is free. What if your stepdaughter doesn't like that dentist or needs an oral surgeon (tooth extraction is done by oral surgeons, for example)?

What does the court order say? Does it say that your husband is responsible for maintaining insurance? Even though his ex can get dental for free, if he doesn't maintain insurance and it's court-ordered, she could always take him back to court for contempt of court.

I don't know how much money you're talking about saving - but the unexpected expenses could add up to be a lot more.
I personally feel that in this case, it's better to be safe than sorry!

Tell mom that your stepdaughter is going to be covered "just in case" something comes up (like she changes jobs or the stepdaughter needs dental services not provided for free by the dentist).


answers from Louisville on

im not sure what you are upset about free health care is great go for it!



answers from Clarksville on

How much is the insurance? Do you have to enroll now or can it be any time? You would hate to not enroll, and for whatever reason the mom does not work for the DDS anymore, and then it would be completely out of pocket. Also, unless your child is very accident prone, a 2 year old only has a couple of cleanings and maybe x-rays. Out of pocket may be less expensive than the insurance. Braces, on the other hand, when she is older, would be a different story. Good luck!



answers from Nashville on

Usually in a divorce agreement it states who will cover the children under insurance. If it says your husband than honor that agreement.



answers from Louisville on

A., there is a question of fraud here. If her mother can get the work free of charge for family through her employer but wants to charge your insurance provider for it, this may well be illegal and you would be a party to the fraud if you were aware of the deceit. I would try to discuss this with your CO or someone at JAG regarding the legal ramifications of this plan of action before you do anything further. Then, if they advise you it would be wrong/illegal to be involved with the plan, you can safely go to your sd's mom and explain the situation from your - legal - pov.

Good luck.



answers from Nashville on


It's their mom, let her do it for free.Probably she feels right about helping in anyway. You can get the insurance later if she quit her job. Money is short now in our days and you dont need to pay for an insurance right now. Use that money for somthing else you all need.



answers from Lexington on

I would suggest getting the insurance and have her dental work done at her Mom's office. If there is anything the insurance doesn't cover, then it is Mom's responsibility to cover the out of pocket, whether it gets written off or not.

I'm not sure if your dental is through an employer, but typically if you are then you can only add dependants at open enrollment. If you didn't get her insurance and her Mom lost her job, you may not be able to add her at that time because there would not be a qualifying event.

Good luck!


answers from Boston on

Hi A.,

Stepmomming can be such a challenge! It sounds like there are three coverage tiers: Individual, Couple & Family, is that correct? And it will cost more if it's not just you and hub on the plan?

Having dealt w/ my husband's ex for almost 12 years now, I'd just go ahead and see to it that she's covered under your dental. What if mother gets a different job in six months? What if her DDS will give free cleanings but other work will cost? Unless the DDS is giving you coverage information, or mother gives you written information as to her employee benefits, you don't have assurance that your SD will be 100% covered. It's not worth taking the risk that something won't be covered.

I hope that helps...I think it will mean peace of mind for you and your husband to just put SD on the insurance plan.



answers from Greenville on

A few questions to ask yourself:

* If you weigh out how much the insurance will cost you and the attitude you will get from the mom, which will be more?
* If you do not enroll your stepdaughter now and mom quits the DDS will you be able to enroll her then? I ask this b/c at my job I can only make changes to my plan once per year.



answers from Huntington on

I'd get the the mom going to have that job in 6 months, or does she stay in one place for a while. Eitherway, you can always make a change during your company's open enrollment period if you feel a change is needed.

I'd want to be protected in the event of something major. But you might make arrangements with mom a head of time that YOU (i.e., the insurance) will pick up a portion, then SHE (i.e., her benefit of free dental care) will take care of the the out-of-pocket amounts. That sounds like it might be a win-win.


answers from Knoxville on

Talk to your husband and the step daughters mother. If she is okay with the saving the money for something else, college fund, clothing, etc... then I would save it. Something else to think about is if you have the insurance in place and she needs dental care while staying with you then it would not be totally out of your pocket. I am not sure how often or long she visits for. Just weigh the pros and cons. Also if your husband is court ordered to keep medical and dental insurance on his daughter then even if she can get free dental through the dentist she works for she may not always work there.



answers from Fayetteville on

I would get the insurance just in case. You never know what will happen as far as the mom's job and getting free dental work. The dentist may change that policy, mom lose her job. I like safe rather than sorry. Tricare dental is a pretty decent price, I've used it my entire life (married military + military brat). But they don't always cover everything everything, I still get a bill (really small) from my dentist, maybe the mom get work it so that your insurance covers their portion and the dentist (or mom) picks up the rest.



answers from Charlotte on

Hi A.,

Well, my opinion is to get the insurance. My thought process here is that perhaps you'd get a freebie for regular cleanings or maybe little cavity issues. But if she had an accident or some heavy duty stuff needed to be done, they would need to charge you at least for the materials. In other words, surely they wouldn't be willing to LOSE money giving you a family break. The cost for materials could cost you a pretty penny.

The other thing I'm thinking about here is that if you ended up not liking the dentist or his work, you're kind of stuck if you don't have the insurance. I really wouldn't want to feel like I have no options.

Good luck in what you decide.



answers from Nashville on

I would get the insurance. Dental is not that expensive and you can get the basic insurance. You do want to be safe for paperwork reasons, for future dental work...what if she quits, gets fired, etc and then there is a major deal like a root canal or something. Not sure if dental has a pre-existing clause but if it did, you would not be covered in that situation. Just do it the right way to be safe, you never know if it will get thrown up in your face in the future, or in court!



answers from Raleigh on

Enroll in the coverage and IF your stepdaughter gets any dental work done at her mother's employment, they have to get the insurance info from you anyway. If you are the legally responsible party - then you talk with the business manager at the dental office and discuss your concerns. Leave the drama out of it by not involving the mother at all in this arrangement.
OR take care of her dental needs at your own dentist and use the insurance. Tell Mom that you feel the situation at her employment could be perceived as fraud on your part and you don't want to get involved in that.

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