Monday, November 24, 2008

That flouride treatment cost me how much?

We recently received a bill from Matthew's dentist. We owe $55 for his flouride treatments. But wait, we never received any kind of heads up from the dentist that this wasn't covered. No conversation about the option of forgoing the flouride. No talk about the fact that this would result in an extra charge because our insurance only covers one flouride treatment per year per child.

Would you ever get away with that in any other service industry? 

What if PR firms started charging clients randomly for services they thought they needed, but never officially asked. Isn't that the same thing? What am I missing here? At the very least, the dentist should have just sat us down and said, "now this may or may not be covered by insurance since this is Matthew's second flouride treatment of the year. Are you sure you want to proceed?" Given all the data, we could have made an informed decision. The way it played out, we were basically duped.

Now, the dentist probably isn't out to "get us" but he's definitely in the business of making money. There's a conflict there. And this is just a basic example--there are some other examples on the health care side that are far more frightening. 

Something needs to change. Providers and dentists need to be more open with their patients when it comes to what's covered, how much it will cost and your options. All the burden can't rest with the consumer. It's just too damn complicated. It's like the darn tax code trying to figure out health care insurance costs these days--thank God I married an expert in health care insurance. 

Any ideas on how we can fix this mess?

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