Thursday, January 6, 2011

Fee Building Doctors - Ranting

Good grief, isn't it Friday yet? This has been the longest week of my life.  That's what I always say the week after the holidays are over.  At least we have Martin Luther King, Jr. Day to look forward to.  I made a dentist and eye doctor appointment on that day but I'm seriously rethinking that bright idea.

I was in to see my eye doctor early this week, and after my exam he said my prescription was exactly the same, nothing has changed. He wrote my prescription on a little card and then he went on to tell me about this great new technology (read: sounds like a sales pitch) where they have made reading glasses progressive in the last year.  So, in essence, I'd be able to wear them in front of the computer and keep them on while I'm trying to read the paperwork I just printed. They're not the progressive glasses that you wear all the time, you wear them only for reading.  Sounds really great until I get out to the front lobby and the chica who does the fittings says the lenses alone are $194.  It stopped me in my tracks. I didn't even ask about the frames.  I'm like ... uh ... okay ... what does my insurance policy cover?  "Oh, your insurance policy won't cover any of this particular lense".  I said, let me sleep on that.  I'm supposed to go back on MLK day to have my eyes dilated.  Why? I don't know. He's never done that before. I'm going to call back today and ask exactly why that needs to be done and I may cancel the appointment, even though they said my insurance policy will cover it.  I should have asked when I was there but I'm just not quite assertive enough with my doctors when I'm in the room with them.

Back up now, to the first day off of my Christmas holiday. Gene and I visited the dentist. I had called for a cleaning & exam appointment for both of us.  Both of us walked out of there without ever having a cleaning tool touch a tooth but we did get x-rays done and another appointment for  a "deep cleaning" (read: very expensive procedure).  LET ME REPEAT WHAT I JUST SAID.  On my day off, I went to get my teeth cleaned and it didn't happen.  Gene has a couple of small cavities that have lived in his teeth for a while and I have a large filling that needs to come out and be replaced with a crown. AND ... they want to do deep gum cleanings on both of us which will require numbing (read: expensive anesthetics).  Now, we each have $1,000 coverage that has to last a whole year.  This appointment where we never got a single tooth cleaned just burned up $236 from each of our respective "kitty" of dental monies. I have yet to receive the estimate they promised for the deep cleaning but I'm leaning towards canceling those appointments which I made on MLK day also.  I must also mention that smack in the middle of my "exam", the hygienist cleverly slipped in an innocent question, "have you ever thought about whitening your teeth"?  No, quite frankly I have not.  I've been asked that question before, by the same dentist office. I've never been self-conscious about the freakin' color of my teeth except on those days when I visit the dentist office. 

I've been thinking about this for a couple of days now. When we lived in Yuma, Arizona, we would cross the border into Mexico, stop at the optometrist's office to get an eye exam, pick out our frames, go have a shrimp taco and pick up our glasses within 2 hours. And, here's the part I love, all for $60 (glasses & exam).  I refused to see the dentists in Mexico ~ that's where I drew the line. I had a bad experience once while there.  However, thousands of snowbirds go to Mexico on an annual basis for their dental work and are happy as clams at high tide about it. 

So, today I will be calling my dentist's office and getting the low-down on the costs for this "deep cleaning" vs. the crown that I need.  I suspect one or both of those procedures will have to wait another year. I'm betting it'll be the "deep cleaning".

And, my eye doctor will have to milk someone else for the exorbitant fees for a pair of reading glasses.   I think I'll just keep wearing the reading glasses that have served me really well for the last year and save my $194 ~ I have a feeling I'm going to need it for my dental work.

I know what will happen with my dentist office. If I cancel our appointments, I will receive a lot of computer generated calls from them for the next 6 months wanting to reschedule. They are like hounddogs. I wonder .... if I didn't have insurance or a job ... how many calls they would make to me?  Just sayin' ......


  1. My goodness girl, when did you get so cynical??? If I were you I'd get that cleaning....the thing about dentistry is it gets more expensive the longer you wait.

  2. I can understand this. The added stuff they push for more money now everywhere is upsetting. Mexico is close when in Flag. And I know Cindy, Al and Glenva would love to see you both.

  3. @ Kathy ~ when doctors start "selling" their services as if it's a spa, I question that. I'm getting ready to switch to a smaller dentist office that doesn't have a huge mortgage, high overhead, and a fancy "call" system to pay for.

    I also want to know why it costs nearly 5 times as much for a pair of glasses in the USA and takes 10 days to get them back.

  4. Well, there is a site on the net, that though I have not used it "YET", will throw in the lenses if they are single vision for FREE, if you purchase a frame from them... and that is true of their lowest cost plastic frames.. which are $8, so all you have to do is supply your prescription, and the size off of some existing glasses that you have, {stamped right on them, at least on the side thingies.. the other is just a millimeter measurement side to side.. and send it off into cyber space, and supposedly some time later you get a pair of glasses.. that you will have to message on your own to get it to fit just right.
    A crown in Algodonnes Mexico, a few years ago, including an overall exam, and cleaning {deep cleaning down the gum line for sure} and grinding the old tooth down, numbing, building and fitting a temporary crown, building the permanent one in two days, and removing the temp and putting in the new permanent crown, that is solid as a rock two years later anyway.... $140 total for all of it!! As for pharmacy supplies... well.. I was paying $5.99 for 120 20mg tablets of Omeprazole, which is Prilosec OTC in Mexico, which at any pharmacy here is best price about $20 for 42 tablets. Do the math on that.. and we are paying 954% more for the same medication here as there. What the hell is up with that... hmm. Please don't weep big tears for the pharmaceutical companies, no just don't do it.

  5. We are over-a-barrel up here in Alaska. Every pair of glasses is close to $700 with the coating, etc. And dental work? through the roof and now that i'm on Medicare ...well, Medicare doesn't even cover dental work!!! are old folks not supposed to have teeth? And every doctor visit is outrageous. i get pain injections in my back every two months at $1,500 per injection that takes about 5 minutes!!! we really do need health care like they have in England!!

  6. I'm guessing that "fancy call back system" is cheaper than having the receptionist spend her time making those calls and that's a pretty standard chore in any practice to remind folks they are due. Pushing the teeth whitening? That's pretty over the top I'll give you that.

  7. The dentist told Jeremy that he needed that deep cleaning as well a couple years ago, and well he never did it and at his appointments since they saw no need for it any longer soo.. deep clean them yourself brush for 2 min, really go by the gum line and floss, should take care of it, it did for him.


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