Friday, June 16, 2017
Dentist and Health Insurance
Dentist and Health Insurance
Many years ago, a cranky young man had three younger children and a job which allowed his family to live pay check to pay check. Health insurance was mostly subsidized through work, that was good. Health insurance that was subsidized through work paid for 50% of normal health problems, and 80% of serious stuff like operations and hospitalization…after a $1500 deductible (or well over one month’s take home pay), that was not so good.
There was no dental insurance, and having a baby was considered optional and was not covered at all. On the plus side, doctors and even the hospitals accepted monthly payments without charging interest. As long as you sent something every month you were good.
I used to send the dentist $10 every month. There was always a new charge before the original bill was covered. I paid about $20 a month for the cost of child birth. I paid for about ten years. When the medical costs of my children’s births were paid off, my insurance decided they would cover most of child birth expenses. Too late, and I did not take advantage of this new benefit…three children was plenty…well one more came much later and that cost was covered.
Recently my dental insurance would not pay me to use my dentist of over 35 years. He was not covered under their plan. I used the insurance for some specialist procedures, and paid out of pocket to my regular dentist for normal dental needs. I did not like the specialists that were in my plan, they worked in dental factories and patients were treated like a piece of meat.
A year ago, I needed work done and I wanted my regular dentist of 35+ years to do the work. I changed dental plans to do this. My insurance went from $50 a month, to $150 a month. The $150 a month covered my youngest son who never uses it because his step-father is an oral surgeon. Mrs. C does not go to a dentist, because, well she just doesn’t, so essentially, I pay $150 a month just for myself and my crappy teeth.
This year I went to my regular dentist, who was covered by my new expensive plan and had the work done that I had been putting off. The proceedure cost $3500. At first my insurance only wanted to cover $500 as they questioned the need for some of the work. Eventually they paid the maximum covered by this plan, $1500. They cover a maximum of $1500 for each member on the plan.
I did some quick math and realized that I was paying $1800 a year to cover a possible $1500 of dental work for me, and maybe $1500 to my son’s step-dad if my son needed work, and I really don’t give a flying frig if he is paid anything…just saying; and maybe $1500 for Mrs. C if she had a dental emergency. Not a very cost effective plan.
Next year I am simply going to have a $150 portion of my SS automatically deposited in a special account to be used just for dental costs. I am going to insure myself and take my chances.
The trouble with health insurance is companies want to make a profit so they fight every payment, the insured want their monies worth and will take advantage of the companies if given the chance. There is fraud on the insured side and also from a small segment of crooked practitioners. It is a very cold sterile process of rampant distrust and dissatisfaction.
I kind of miss the old days where Doctors, in effect subsidized those who had difficulty making payments. They accepted low monthly payments or barter and probably charged their wealthier patients a bit extra. Maybe not so great for the doctors, but I don’t remember doctors driving anything but new cars.
Of course, medicine was cheaper in those old days, because they didn’t have the machines and medicines to cure you like they do today. The service was great, the bed side manner was great, the cures not always so much.
One thing for sure when it comes to health care and insurance, it will never be fair, it will never be inexpensive and there is no solution to make everyone happy. After all, the only people who get their monies worth out of health insurance are those who are real sick.