We lost our dental insurance 2 years ago when my husband didn't qualify for insurance through his union, Screen Actors Guild, because he didn't earn enough money. Don't get me started on how wrong that picture is. I am pretty scrupulous about getting my teeth cleaned every 6 months. I look on Yelp for dentists who are offering a new customer discounted package or I take advantage of the offers in the Valpak that come through the mail. They usually have a local dentist offering a deal. Unfortunately, I have no continuity of care as I bounce from one dentist to another. It sucks, but whatya gonna do?
Here is what I have noticed about dentists; some tell you that you need lots of work in your mouth and some don't. That surprised me but I guess it is no different than seeing different doctors and getting second and third opinions on a medical condition.
I finally got my state medical card, and before Obamacare, adults on Medicaid did not receive any dental coverage. I had high hopes that this would change with the ACA. I walked into a couple of places only to be told that they did not cover adults. I walked past a clinic which displayed a sign that said they accepted Medicaid patients. I called the office and was overjoyed to be told that they accepted the medical card for adults and made an appointment. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I needed to ask what services were covered. When you go to the dentist, you expect teeth cleaning to be a covered service. Am I right or am I right?
I arrived early, as I am pathologically punctual, filled out paperwork and was called in to get x-rays and additional pictures. I have never seen so many views of my teeth in my entire life. This really seemed like overkill, but I figured, what the hell, it's covered by insurance. Next, I had to watch a video presented by Invisalign about the importance of straight teeth and the dangers of plaque and gum disease. Can anybody say kickback?
Then the dentist spent several minutes looking at my teeth and then she insisted on going over every single picture with me. She told me that I had gum disease and that I needed a deep cleaning. However, a cleaning was not a covered service and it would cost me $700. I hung my head in my hands. I just wanted her do a simple cleaning on my %^&* teeth, which was also not covered and cost $90 but she wouldn't have done that, anyway, because she decided I needed the deep cleaning.
At this point, I started freaking out and the office manager was sent in to do I don't know what? Tell me what the person on the phone had failed to tell me when I made the appointment but really should have told me, in which case, I would not have made the appointment but now I already knew? I was sort of in a state of shock and I apologized for taking up their time as they had spent an hour on me and I walked out.
The next day I called to ask them to send me my x-rays. To add insult to injury, I was told that there was a $25 charge for this pleasure. I'm sorry, but these x-rays belong to me and you were paid for them by insurance, so why the hell should I pay you for them? I called the Illinois Dental Association. Dental offices are within their rights to charge for x-rays. Now I am screwed because I have already had an exam and if I go to another dentist, I will have to pay for that out of pocket because insurance won't pay for another exam, not to mention the cost of the cleaning. What would you do if you were in my situation?
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