The assumption was that I had the same coverage from KS as I did in NY and AZ, in that at least a tooth extraction would be covered. It turns out that I was WRONG! Oh, was I wrong. I have NO dental coverage. None. At all. And the thing is that I have no choices in this one. I either get this tooth taken care of, or I risk serious health issues that could come from ignoring this bad tooth.
It started with my calls to various dentists.
The first one said they had no openings, but would happily put me on a waiting list. They were very pleasant over the phone, so the prospect of seeing friendly people in a time of crisis was emotionally soothing. I accepted the offer to be placed on a waiting list, but also asked if they could recommend anyone else for my growing emergency. They did. Thus...
My next call was to a dentist whose staff wasn't as friendly, but they had an opening at 2:30 the same day. I took it. With the pain either being at a minimum and not bothering me at all, to making me want to weep with the absolute agony, I had to do SOMETHING. I made the appointment, retired to my room...
...and I don't know why, but insurance popped into my head. I suddenly wondered whether or not the dentist took my insurance. So I called the dentist's office back, and found out that they didn't take it. As a result, I called the first dentist. Before I asked to be placed back on the list, I asked about insurance. They, too, didn't take Medicare and Medicaid.
Well, surely the local clinic would take it, right? I was seeing their medical affiliate for my general medicinal needs, so they must have the same system, right?
The thing is that I'd been given the run-around by the dental clinic in the past, so I called the nurse practitioner that usually takes care of me and asked her to pull strings. She did, and the dental clinic called me. I was given a nightmarish list of things to bring to their office, and they would try to get me in as soon as possible.
This turned into a mad rush to find everything they wanted from me, including my annual Social Security award letter. (It includes the detail information of what they claim is my due for the upcoming year.) Since I received it last December...Yeah, finding that was fun, especially with only a semi-useful left arm. But find it I did, and I was off to the clinic.
It was there that I discovered I didn't have something called "Title 19." I have no idea what this is. I assume it involves a secret handshake, along with a secret decoder ring, that allows me to get THE BASIC HEALTH CARE I NEED! Whatever it really is, I don't have it. Using a sliding scale based on my income, they determined the cost of an exam, x-rays, and extraction. If the doc x-rays just the one tooth, it's $40.00. If the whole mouth is x-rayed, it's $87.50. And if the doc actually decides to pull the tooth, which I pray he will, I'll have to tack on another $55.00. All told, including the extraction, my total will be somewhere between $95.00 to $142.50.
I'm trying to do the math on this. I have 27 teeth left to my name...soon to be 26. To x-ray them all, it will cost $87.50. But for one, it'll be $40. Mind you, I don't like the idea of paying $40 per tooth, as that comes to $1,080.00! So I'll reverse the example, using the total amount quoted. That would be $87.50 divided by 27, which equals a rounded up total of $3.25 per tooth. Where did the price of $40 come from? I like $3.25 MUCH more! Tack on the $55 for removing the troublesome tooth, and I have prices that suit my current financial situation a lot better.
Of course, I could be wrong. They may only be taking x-rays of the lower line of teeth, which alters the cost per tooth to $6.25. It's still much better than $40 given to me in the estimate.
What mystifies me is the complete lack of coverage of something so vital. I mean, there has been a link established between periodontal issues and heart disease. So how does the government overlook something that serious? Is there some benefit to saving money on dentists, but paying out thousands of dollars for the care of a heart attack victim? (Just because it's linked doesn't mean it happens all the time. I only found a few thousand articles on it while looking into the dentist yesterday.) I just don't get it.
Anyway...My dental appointment is at 2:30 today. I plan on cornering the dentist and saying, "Look...you can visually inspect my teeth and see I have a lot of trouble ahead of me. I'm not prepared to shell out over $100.00 for everything you could do today. Just x-ray the ONE tooth so you can see what you're facing in removing it and get it out. I'll burn the next bridge on the road of dental care when I'm better prepared for it."
The thing is that the entire mouth has to go. Under my current "lack of insurance" plan, It'll cost another $1,430.00 to remove them all, especially if we stick to the price tag of $55.00 per tooth. Add another $1,750 for dentures to replace them, and...
*sigh* Becky...? Honey...? We really need to win that lottery jackpot. This way, as we stand before the cameras and answer questions from reporters, I can answer that fateful question, "What do you plan on doing with the $200,000,000?" with, "SEE A FRACKIN' DENTIST!"
* * *By the way, folks...Do you see the part where my followers are gathered? (Wow...I have 19. Maybe I should have a contest when I hit 50...give away my spleen or something.) Anywho, there's one that says "Becky" when you mouse over it. That's my lovely lady, right there. She would like more followers, but you don't really know her, so that's not necessary. However, she has been posting something I wrote while she was visiting me. It's a fairly consolidated version of how she and I ended up as a couple that's "engaged to be engaged." (And it was a fun exercise, writing from her perspective instead of mine.) If you're interested, it starts here. If you want to read that version, instead of hunting down every post that covers it here, then head on over to her blog.
Now, it's all well and good that I should point people toward my girlfriend's blog, but some might be wondering why it came to me that I should do that. Well, my dental issues were a big part of why I was staying in KS. Aside from having established medical care and needing a few surgeries, it's easier to just get it all done here instead of starting from scratch out there. Unless I can get this insurance nonsense ironed out, that may change.
Once a year, KS has a dental clinic somewhere in the state in which they offer free everything. Well, ALMOST free everything. Instead of busting my butt to save up for dental care here, what I may well do is wait until that clinic, which should be in April of next year, have "my mouth removed," and then get my rear in gear to move to PA to be with my lady.
And let me tell you, having met her face-to-face was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, as well as one of my greatest mistakes. Why was it a mistake? Because I MISS HER!!! I miss holding her and talking about anything that comes to mind. I miss sitting in the same room, doing different things, comfortable in the silence, but ultimately knowing that the woman I love is within reach. And of the intimacy that we shared, I miss her kisses the most. She is without doubt the most fantastic kisser I've met in a LONG time. Not just my 10 years of no real relationships. I mean going back several decades. Playful, tender, and/or passionate...her kisses are absolutely incredible.
I want to be with my Becky. The sooner I can make that happen on a more permanent basis, the better.
So...Yeah. Got lost in a tangent there. Go read my story of her story of how we met, and BE WELL! =)