Dental insurance, health insurance – the unhappier thoughts

Yesterday was root canal day, and all things considered, it went well. I now have temporary crowns on both sides of my mouth, making eating an interesting adventure, but at least I am no longer plagued by having to eat “just right” temperature food to keep from electrifying myself with pain. The actual procedure was uneventful, although the anesthesia lasted at least 3 hours after I left the dentist’s office, meaning I sat through 2 meetings with a client and potential client looking like a stroke victim. Thank you, boss, for scheduling those without checking with me first and only telling me about them the afternoon before, when it’s too late to reschedule anything.

The most painful part of the root canal was undoubtedly handing over my credit card, upon which she placed the fee of $2072.80. This is $142.20 less than the estimate, for which I am thankful. Because … M’s crown replacement that they did in August was essentially rejected by the insurance. Our portion, payable upon installation, was $791.40, which is bad enough. The insurance was supposed to pay the balance of $1079.60, of which they paid $127.00, leaving us with an outstanding balance of $952.60. Really? REALLY? The receptionist says that it was a “frequency” rejection, meaning that they would not pay for a replacement crown that was less than 5 years old. Checking with M, he believes this crown is at least 25 years old, which in my world means insurance should pay for it. Conversation with the dental receptionist today, I need to call the insurance company about it and find out what is going on. This is also likely to entail a call to our former dental office, to see if they did install this crown and when.

I am preparing to do battle. Hopefully my planning for the worst will be a pleasant surprise and the insurance company will not aggravate, frustrate, and ultimately anger me greatly on the first phone call. Must remember to not have coffee first before calling.

On top of this… it is open enrollment at work for health insurance and an ugly, ugly time. Our Anthem plan went up approximately 24.1% for our non-compliant insurance plans that we can keep for an additional year. If we want to become ACA compliant this year and choose a metal-level plan, comparable insurance would be an additional 17% increase. Ugh. We will stay with our non-compliant plan and pray for an extension of the extension.

For M and I this means our portion of medical insurance increases $52/month. Other staff members with families have it even worse, and I had a steady stream of staff through my office today to inquire about less expensive options. It was depressing and sad.

This is one of those days when I truly hate my job. I wish to have better news for my coworkers. Yes we still have jobs, but reality is wages are not keeping up with the increased insurance and cost of living expenses. Looking at projections for revenue is not encouraging about review season, either. I cannot put an optimistic or cheerful spin on the reality we are dealing with right now. Ours is not the only firm out there struggling, and in this instance, in this misery, I wish we did not have quite so much company.

4 thoughts on “Dental insurance, health insurance – the unhappier thoughts

  1. Ouch! I didn’t realize root canals were so expensive! I have had insurance deny claims for repeated work being too soon. I had a cavity replaced 3 times in under 3 years. It was still cheaper than a crown so I went with the replacement filling.

    • I KNOW! I haven’t had one in years and years, and the last time I was either so buried in debt anyway and didn’t stress more or my insurance actually covered it. Timing just did not work out this time, and my maximum benefits have been exhausted.

  2. interestingly, I need this done. Actually, I have a choice…root canal or lose the tooth. The tooth is right at the back so it won’t affect my looks!! but the cost is unreal, to repair one tooth? free to take it out though, no brainer really.

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