A Large Bite Richard Quinn | Oct 2, 2021, 2:07 am ET
IN DECEMBER 2020, my wife got an infection at the site of an old root canal. The dentist initially thought it could be treated with medication. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, so an extraction and implant were planned. The process took several visits and several bills, with the charges accumulating along the way.
Some of this pain could have been relieved by a modest dental plan that I had from my former employer. That was not to be, as my employer terminated the plan in 2021. What coverage we could then purchase—with money from the company’s health reimbursement arrangement—covers only routine care. I do have a health care spending account through my old employer. But the way it’s structured—which I designed many years ago—requires clairvoyance. You make an annual election for the amount to be available for bills in the following year.
In 2020, I transferred way too little for 2021. When the dentist gave us an estimate, the figure reminded me of buying my first car. When you think about it, just the fact that you need an estimate tells you something. The good news: He gave us a senior discount—without regard to our ability to pay, I might add. Later, after the post was installed, he offered a further discount if we paid cash.
Usually, I like to pay bills with a credit card to earn rewards. In this case, the discount prevailed. The way this procedure works: You go to the dental surgeon to get the post implanted, and then back to your dentist to have the new tooth attached. The tooth part has yet to be accomplished, so we only have one bill to go by.
At this point, however, our cost after discounts is $6,651.67.
The estimate for the remaining work adds another $1,500. Over $8,000 for one tooth.
Two thoughts come to mind. First, admonishing retirees to have an emergency fund is good advice. Second, with all the talk about adding dental coverage to Medicare, will it include dental implants at $8,000? Don’t count on it.
Source: A Large Bite – HumbleDollar