23 July 2008

Dental Insurance

Since when did 80% coverage mean 62% coverage?

I was at the dentist with my two boys the other day. It was time for their yearly checkup, cleaning and lecture on how to brush their teeth. My plan from work covers 80% of the dental fees so I was prepared to pay a bit for the visit. But when I signed the insurance forms I checked the costs and did some quick mental math. I asked the receptionist why my plan only covered two thirds of the bill instead of 80%. She said the plan covers 80% of the fees as listed by the Dental Association, but they charge a bit more for each service. So the bit more that isn't covered by my plan I had to pay 100% of, making my total payment 38% of the final bill instead of 20%. I paid it anyway, no point in kicking up a huge fuss without some more ammo on the topic.

When I got home I checked my previous bills with the dentist to find I paid more than 20% each and every time. And no, I don't keep all my bills stashed away, just ones I write off on my taxes :) Each bill was only a tad over the 20% mark so I never bothered about it, but my usual dentist has now retired and a new dentist has bought the practice. The newbie is good and kind, but apparently charges more than the other one did. Now I wonder...do I bother finding a new dentist? All of them probably charge a bit more than what the Dental Association recommends, but where is the ethical line drawn? At what point are the dentists charging too much? Why don't insurance plans cover 80% of the total cost? Did anyone else know about this?

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