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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have NO idea where this really needs to go, but I REALLY want to let off some steam! I'm SO fed-up with *things!*

Okay, so, hubby has dental insurance through work and since we moved, we hadn't found a new dentist. We're two years overdue! I call the insurance and guess what? They only work with ONE dentist in *our* area! ONE! There's like 150 dentists in the phonebook, but they only work with ONE! So, I call to set up an appointment and as new patients we have to wait THREE months to get an appointment. They have no Saturday hours, and their last appointments of the day are at 3:30PM. We don't have any "pressing" problems, so I take that appointment. I mean ... what else am I to do? We have two daughters, ages 4 and 5 who have never been to the dentist (yes I know they should have been LONG ago!). We wait our three months and the day finally gets here ... today ... and hubby takes off work to come home and get the girls and me and we head to our new dentist's office. As we're waiting on traffic so we can turn into the parking lot, I notice that the sign for the dentist is *very* faded and paint is peeling. That disturbed me a bit. We get inside and there's no one at the window to "greet" us or hand us "new patient" forms. Finally after knocking, some guy is like, "oh ... yeah ... here" and shoves them at us. We're sitting there trying to fill out the forms and a few times have to inquire with one another about various insurance information and such and we can barely hear each other over the talk radio that is BLARING through a ceiling speaker. No ... it was NOT dental office muzak ... it was talk radio. And what was being talked about? SEX! LOUDLY!! Both of our daughters sitting there next to us. One other waiting patient knocked on the window and asked if it could be turned down or off and they said, "no." At this point, cigarette smoke, which was already noticeable in the office, but that I figured came "in" with another person, begins to get noticeably stronger and more "sex" talk ensues overhead and I looked at my husband and said, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" He said, "Probably so!" We ripped up the "new patient" sheets and walked out. While we're walking out, my husband calls them and it took SEVERAL rings for anyone to answer and then when they did, he said, "Uh, I was just in your office as a new patient with my wife and children. We've decided not to stay." The guy says, "Okay" and hangs up.

So then I call the insurance company and ask them what the heck we're supposed to do now and they give me three other dentists within 30(!) miles of us. One is in a REALLY bad part of town and the other two are right at that 30 mile mark and I'm sorry, but it's ridiculous for me to have to drive 30 miles to see a dentist when there are a hundred within 5 miles!

At this point, I broke down in tears. I'm furious that we've been paying for insurance that has basically screwed us - - and that we will have to continue to pay until "new enrollment" rolls around again in January! I also feel helpless because I don't know what we can do now! Dentists aren't cheap! Especially for a family of four with no insurance! Even at the dental school!

*sighs heavily*

Thank you, if you read this for, for letting me rant.
 

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that's awful. i would put up one hell of a fight with the insurance company, not to mention report a complaint about that skeazy dental office.

but if they can't do anything else for you, i think i'd drive the extra distance and go to the one 30 miles away, rather than pay to go to a closer one. you're right, dentists are expensive. i've been overdue for years and have a gaping cavity in a back molar and need all 4 wisdom teeth out, plus in bad need of a cleaning and may have a couple smaller cavities. i have bad teeth. i mean they don't look bad, just the enamel is soft or something, i get cavities easily. runs in the family, our dentist bills were always crazy when i was a kid
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Today, we found out that a few other employees have walked out of the same dentist office and for the same reason! I guess we're going to drive the extra distance ... but I'm concerned that our insurance is only supporting like 1% of the available dentists in the area. I'm afraid that these four dentists all have bad marks against them and our insurance company is one of the "few" that will support them. It just irks me that we're paying over $50/month for coverage that is so, so crappy. Yes, they'll cover if we go to someone else "out of network" - - if that's what you want to call it. If we go to an out of network dentist, we have to pay a $100 deductible per family member and 40% of the cost. What is up with insurance companies today? WHAT are we paying for if they're coverage is so so so crappy?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ugh, I've been suffering my own dental problems too
I spent the weekend knocked out on painkillers and/or in tears because the pain had gotten so bad (I know I need a couple of root canals, I have periodontitis, and my wisdom teeth came in and impacted). I have dental insurance, but it doesn't cover emergency care, so I had to make an appointment--and they can't see me until JULY! In the meantime, I'm in some major pain.
ACK!

Anyhow, your "dentist's" behavior is inexcusable. If you are in the US, this is what I would do:

Write a letter to your insurance company, basically stating everything you did here. "CC" it to the American Dental Association, referencing their Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct, plus your local dental association for your state. Most state associations have a review board and you can file a complaint with them as well. Let them know about the other employee's walking out.

Also, include with your letter to your insurance company a list of the other Dentist's in your area and ask why only one of them is included with your plan. Demand a good answer.

When you write the letter, try to find out the names of specific people--get a contact name for your insurance company, and your local dental association--to make sure that your letter is actually seen by the right people.

Anyway, it might not make a difference, but then again, it just might


Good luck!
 

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I agree with everything Gruntled Sheep said. I would also write a letter to your husband's benefits administration department. I used to work in employee benefits consulting and often the benefits people make choices as to which insurer to go with based on cost and personal experience alone b/c they get so little feedback from the employees. The cost of the benefit is based on the group size, so if a number of employees threaten to quit the plan, it might encourage them to look for another carrier.
 

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"I'm afraid that these four dentists all have bad marks against them and our insurance company is one of the "few" that will support them. "

It may be the other way around, that your insurance company is a poor insurance company, and does not pay dentists what they deserve to be paid to do good work, thus none of the decent dentists are willing to work with this insurance company, this dentist is one of the few that is willing to work with this insurance company.

The insurance company may not pay good dentists enough for the procedures that need to be done, for them to feel adequately paid for spending the necessary amount of time, or possibly won't even pay them at all for certain necessary procedures. It may be that only the dentists that can't get patients any other way, through any other plan, and can't find cash patients, are willing to accept a relationship with shoddy insurance company, willing to accept what this insurance company pays, for various treatments. And the way they make a profit by accepting inadequate payment, for variousl treatments, is by doing fast, shoddy work. Or doing second-class procedures. Quite often crap ins companies will, say, pay a dentist the going rate for an extraction, but won't pay the going rate for a root canal, so the dentist does extractions on teeth that could have been saved with a root canal.

This happens more often than you might think. Once that tooth is removed, and the dentist tosses it in the garbage there is just no way for another dentist to tell for sure if it really needed extraction or not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay ... first of all, Gruntled and MC - - I've already written the letter, essentially "formalizing" what I wrote above. I'm sending it to the Health Department, the Better Business Bureau, and the American Dental Associtaion - - and I might even send it to our newspaper! (I'm way pissed right now!!!) I called the insurance company to find out who to send it to and got nothing but the runaround. They essentially care less. Also, we will be sending a letter to the HR department of my husband's company. However, I really doubt they're going to do anything because we've addressed the medical insurance *several* times with them to no avail. When our second daughter was born, "our portion" was close to $20,000 after what insurance covered. She was early and had to spend a week in the hospital. Can you imagine if it had been longer??? Anyway, the woman who deals with it could care less. The biggest problem is that this company is a national company and so the insurance they offer may not be so bad in one town, but horrible in another. One manager told my husband that it is almost worth moving across the river (which would put us in a different state) to get better coverage. However, it just seems *wrong* to me that we should get such crappy coverage when those across the river get far better coverage. As a side, this company just "took away" vacation time from people who hadn't yet taken for the year because of "budget cuts."

Soilman ... essentially you said everything I've already been thinking. I had a friend get screwed in a similar situation. Her coverage only listed one dentist in her area and she "trusted" that he'd be fine and he insisted she needed a crown on one of her molars, stating that she had a cracked tooth. She allowed him to do it and her insurance only covered minimal amounts of it (leaving her owing $600). The next time she went to see him about a year later, he gave her the EXACT same spiel on the mirror molar. She was suspicious, so got a second opinion by another dentist. He couldn't visbly see a problem, so then took several different x-rays (from different angles) and still couldn't find a problem whatsoever. I'm just sooooo frustrated right now.
 

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I'm so sorry, MD! ~hugs~

My dad has been battling (a bit) with some incompetent doctors. It sucks that you pay and pay and then when the time comes and you really need service, you end up asking yourself what the heck you've been paying for


I hope things work out for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks Strix. I think that's what bugs me the most. I figured it up and we pay $706.16 a year and I feel like it's for nothing. At this moment, it is! Further, we can't change anything about it until NEXT enrollment time.
 

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I don't know what state you're in but I would do the following... contact your state dental board, contact the local health dept (in regards to smoking in the office... that is outrageous!), then *contact the BBB* and report this office. The local news where I am just did a huge investigation about one of the dental chains here in town. It can't hurt, go ahead and email/contact a reporter at your local tv news station. I would be interested to know how many complaints they have filed on the BBB online... its all public info so you should be able to find out easily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I checked the BBB online and there are no complaints. However, they're waiting to receive proof of certification from the office. THAT makes me wonder at least a little bit! SO many people never follow-through with complaints, though, so that doesn't convince me of much.
 
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