Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Cavity in my Wallet

Don't you hate it when you make a stupid mistake that ends up costing you a lot of money? We all do it at some point in our life, and for me that moment came today.

I received a call from my dentist's office while at work today. The woman on the other line told me that my insurance wasn't going to pay for my recent visit (cleaning, x-rays, and replacing an old filling) because my dentist was not on my plan. I was sure I had looked up my family dentist - the one I've been going to for the past 8 years - and had seen them in the list of providers covered under my insurance plan. I told the lady I'd call my insurance company and get things sorted out.

Before I did that, though, I went online to view the list again. I navigated to the website for my dental insurance and typed in my dentists name. Sure enough, he popped up in the list. I called the insurance company and spoke with a woman who sounded (of course) like she was twelve and foreign. I could hardly understand her and her voice was so sweet and calm it made me nauseous. I was in no mood for civil dialogue. I had the fury of hell in my veins and was ready to spew fire and venom at her for their mistake. Luckily, I held back.

She kindly explained (in broken English) that my dentist was a provider for only the paid plan, as opposed to my plan, which was free. Then she explained where on the page I could find that information - tucked away in the corner in small print. I told her that this was misleading, as there was no indication in the search that you'd have to specify which plan you were on before you found a dentist. Speaking from a web developer's point of few, I was adamant about the misleading nature of the website and the casual nature in which this important information was displayed. This elicited no sympathy from the woman with the Chinese candy* voice, though, and I was left to pay for the bill myself.

I called my dentist to see what could be done.

"Well..." she said, "The total for the work is two hundred ten dollars"

"Ahh, hell no..."

"Excuse me, sir?"

"Umm..." I sighed. "Is there any way we can get that lower?"

"Well, if you pay it all at once, we can give you a thirty dollar discount."

I paused, grimacing at the costly reality of my stupid mistake.

"Okay," I mumbled. "Let's do that."

Let this be a lesson to all of you. When dealing with insurance, you can never be too careful, too suspicious, or too overbearing.

Leave no stone uncovered, lest ye pay...


*You know exactly what Chinese candy is like. Strange, sickeningly sweet, and confusing. Yes, it perfectly describes this woman's voice. And no, that's not racist. It's a damn fine description of what she sounded like. :)

P.S. THANK THE GLORIOUS HEAVENS I HAD NO CAVITIES! I could have been out HUNDREDS of dollars. (Yes, there is a silver lining to this raincloud.)


  1. "THANK THE GLORIOUS HEAVENS I HAD NO CAVITIES! I could have been out HUNDREDS of dollars. (Yes, there is a silver lining to this raincloud.)"

    At least you're looking on the bright side

  2. I'm trying to feel bad for you, but your two hundred bails in comparison to my thousands. However, it still sucks!

  3. Personally I think they make up the rules as they go:(

  4. Yeah, I have to say...$210 sounds like nothing for a dentist visit, but I guess it's certainly $210 more than you were expecting to pay, and I can understand your fury. Insurance companies are always trying to weasel their way out of paying up as much as possible. I hate them with a firey passion.

  5. I seem only to learn my "lessons" at the, very expensive, School of Hard Knocks. Sorry you've inherited that trait from me : (

  6. Well that's poo. Sorry to hear that! What is your insurance? I'd be happy to clean your teeth next time at my office if your said insurance doesn't fool you out again. Dang fine print! I kinda want to try some real Chinese candy...