PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL GROUP - IMPROPER DENIAL OF COVERAGE

Posted on Sunday, July 24th, 2011 at 2:17pm CDT by 6f29e0ad

Product: Dental insurance

Company: PRINCIPAL FINANCIAL GROUP

Location: 711 High Street
Des Moines, IA, 50392, US

URL: http://principal.com/

Category: Other

I retired March 31, 2010. My former employer kindly permitted me to continue existing health and dental insurance policies at my own expense until September 2011 when I will turn 65.

Dental insurance was through Principal Financial Group. Principal was aware of my retirement. However, at no time did Principal inform either my former employer or me of its intention to terminate my insurance coverage on March 31, 2011.

Here's my complaint. Having altogether failed to disclose an impending termination of coverage, Principal knowingly delayed processing my request for payment predetermination of (clearly covered) dental benefits until it was able to deny coverage on the ground the policy had been terminated. In other words, Principal sought to escape paying its fair share of a clearly covered dental procedure by figuratively scratching its head and shuffling its feet for nearly 2 months before jumping up and shouting "GOTCHA."

Where I'm from that behavior is sometimes described as lying in the weeds. It is not the sort of conduct one expects of a company that describes itself as ethical and relies on the good will of its customers.

Here's what happened. On February 8, 2011, my dentist's office submitted to Principal a full and complete predetermination request for replacement of failed abutment fixtures and crowns for 2 dental implants that were almost 15 years old. Principal waited almost a month, until March 4, before requesting extensive additional information. My dentist's office promptly supplied the additional information, while privately noting the request seemed a bit out of the ordinary.

My dentist's office advises that approximately a week later (this would have been toward the middle of March), Principal submitted yet ANOTHER request for further information. (By then shaking its collective head), my dentist's office supplied the further information requested. Principal says it received this information in April.

In late April I received from Principal a denial of coverage based upon an asserted policy termination date of March 31. I immediately filed a written request for consideration based on Principal????????s delayed handling of my request and failure to disclose its intention to terminate my policy.

Having received no reply, I phoned the company perhaps 10 days later. A representative told me no one would respond to my inquiry ????????because the policy is terminated.???????? What??

I then filed a request for reconsideration through the website of Principal Financial Group. Several weeks later, I received a letter of reply. The letter denied the company had made a second request for information and simply did not address its failure to disclose the looming policy termination date. The author found it ????????unfortunate that your predetermination wasn????????t filed to allow ample to receive any information necessary for review. We strive to process all correspondence in an accurate and timely manner.???????? In other words piss off.

I dont know whether Principal had a legal obligation to disclose the policy termination date, but it certainly had an ethical obligation to do so. I don????????t know whether seriatim requests for arguably unnecessary information over the course of nearly 2 months constitutes unconscionable stalling under the circumstances, but even my mild mannered and eminently fair dentist found it disingenuous and more than a bit untoward.

Whether or not Principal Financial crossed any legal lines in this matter, one thing seems absolutely clear. A company that callously advances its own interests over those of its own clients in matters of relative monetary insignificance such as this one is not a company I would ever trust to manage my current finances or the future security of my family. Simply a word, I should hope, to the wise.


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