True. In my experience the dental coverage has been better than the health. They deal with you in emergencies but may be reluctant to treat you for regular check up type stuff. I did have to pay taxes on my stipend. You can avoid taxes by just not reporting your stipend, I guess, but from what I understand you're supposed to count it as income. The most important thing, as you mention, is that any solid program (for humanities) should be offering some kind of financial support via stipend of guaranteed teaching/TAing positions. Some programs, I hear, are trying to axe the latter and want to offer all their incoming students stipends.
On the issue of making money, I know a lot of graduate students who hustle to do extra work, and that can make life a lot more comfortable if busier: private tutoring, teaching classes at community colleges, editorial work on journals. The demands and pay of these tasks can vary greatly but I've had good experiences doing some side work on top of teaching that made me feel a lot richer even if I wasn't really.