Book Trailer The Noble Train

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Hell of Health Care

So I got a flyer in the mail saying I could get my teeth cleaned with X rays and a general oral check up for thirty nine dollars. Great. Why not. I have Dental Insurance but it is very low limit and I thought it would be better to just pay for the cleaning. So I went. The receptionist asked if I had insurance. Yes, but I am here for the thirty nine dollar special and I'll just pay for it. Fine she said, but I will make a copy of your insurance card for our files. The dentist checked out my mouth and asked about X Rays. Not wanting to get too many Rads I told him I would get the X Rays from my other dentists. Then we will continue this next time he said. By the way, do you have insurance? Yes, but I would rather just pay the thirty nine dollars. Fine he said. You can take care of that next time.

So I went home. Two weeks later I got an invoice from my insurance company. The dentist had filed for an Oral Exam and billed insurance ninety dollars. The doctor also wanted seventeen dollars from me. I had opened my mouth and the insurance forked out seventy seven and I was on the hook for seventeen. I left a nasty message. The receptionist called back and said it would all be straightened out when I returned. I returned. The receptionist smiled. So, she said. Our system automatically billed your insurance in error. Huh I said. But, if you want we can continue with your insurance and we will bill them ninety for the cleaning and you will just have to pay the difference.

Wait a minute. You mean you are going to bill them another ninety dollars?  Yes, that is what we charge she replied. But I came here for the thirty nine dollar cleaning I pointed out . Well, you can still have that, but if we bill insurance then you just owe us the seventeen and whatever the insurance company doesn't pay on the the new billing. I stared at her. But that means you are then getting probably one hundred and sixty from the insurance company and thirty four dollars from me! She smiled for the condemned. But that is to your are still paying less than thirty nine dollars, she pointed out. I shook my head. But that means you are double dipping I replied. You are getting money from the insurance company and from me...much more than the original thirty nine you would have gotten if I had no insurance.

She squinted her eyes. I see your point, but we can't do both. We either charge you the thirty nine or we charge the insurance company and you pay the difference. I stood there. One of us was seriously impaired. Alright. This is what I propose. You bill the insurance company and eat the difference because you are still getting one hundred and sixty from insurance and that is a lot more than thirty nine from me. She paused. I will have to ask the dentist. I waited. She returned. The dentist said he will bill the insurance this one time and that he will eat the difference but after this you will have to either pay the thirty nine or the difference.

I stared at her. Blinked. So he is still coming out ahead because he is getting one hundred and sixty from the insurance over my thirty nine I concluded. The receptionist suffered a smile. But you don't have to pay anything now she pointed out. That's true I said. I guess we should do the X rays since I didnt get them from my dentist. We cant include X Rays because we would have to bill the insurance company another one hundred and sixty and you would have to pay that difference she replied. I stared at her. How about just the cleaning then  I pleaded, clearly beaten.

That would be just fine she sang.

Books by William Hazelgrove