We needed some dental work done. We approached a dentist about cash prices and got an expensive estimate, even after a 5% discount if we paid up front with cash or check (no credit). This is still way more than payment from an insurance company, so I dug a little deeper.Typically, the price submitted to insurance is knocked down by about 20% and the dentist agrees to take that as payment (some from insurance company and some from the insured). I pointed out that a cash patient is being penalized when forced to pay higher. The billing lady understood where I was going and offered to raise the discount to 10%. I thanked her and advised we would keep shopping around. I figured somewhere there is a place that is financially sane and rewards people who take care of their bodies.
Sadly, that was in a foriegn land, many moons ago. Now, we live in a socialized world where cash is an inconvenience and legal quagmire. Going into debt and scheduled planned expenses to be paid by someone else is now the easy norm. Other ways are forbidden or seriously “disincentevised” with penalties. I should have known this. Look at Obama-Care. It blatantly penalizes – no, taxes – no, penalizes – no, charges fees – those who stay healthy and don’t want socialized health care. I should have known.
The bottom line is this – if the dentist takes insurance and he gives cash patients a lower price, then the insurance companies accuse him of fraud submitting a higher price to them, and they will refuse everybody’s claim through him, and he’ll be dinged legally.
So, surrounded by the sad bureaucracy, I wondered if I could do this differently. We do have some insurance that does not cover dental. So I submitted that medical card. Some days later, a revised fee schedule arrived via email. “Sorry, your insurance does not cover our fees, but because you’re insured we can give you the discounted rates.”
The functional cash price went down by a lot because I have insurance that doesn’t cover me. Right. Ugh..