‘Tis the season to look for discounts
Or is it? Our society seems to thrive on buying everything at a discount and this time of year it is in overdrive. Black Friday this, Cyber Monday that. Don’t buy now because it will be discounted further the closer we get to Christmas. We clip coupons to buy our groceries, we sign up for HalfPriceOzarks.com and Groupon. Department stores like Kohl’s and of course grocery stores have sales, often times loss leaders, to get you in the door and then hopefully you’ll buy everything you need while you are there. In medicine, you aren’t buying an item, you are buying a service and what service you need is based upon an exam and diagnosis and since doctors don’t always agree on diagnosis, you can’t just buy a filling without paying for an exam (and diagnosis) again. You also can’t buy insurance that let’s you go to the doctor of your choice; policies all seem to be for PPO plans which are basically discounted plans. Some are steep discounts, some not so steep. Physicians, chiropractors and dentists seem to be coming up with discount plans of their own to get patients in the door and hopefully keep them. Some call these membership plans, where you pay a set amount per year and that gives you certain care at no additional fee and discounts on everything else. Sounds great, right? Save 25% on all of your fillings and crowns. One office we know of charges $300 for their membership and you get 2 exams, 2 cleanings and any needed x-rays at no additional charge, and yes, you do save 25% on fillings, crowns and anything else you may be told you need. And after you get that crown for $900, you think, wow, I saved 25% off of a $1200 crown. If you didn’t make it in for your second cleaning though, your first checkup cost you $300. Why not go to a dentist with reasonable fees everyday? No membership fee, no discount. Our everyday fee for a periodic exam is $43, a normal adult cleaning, $80. X-rays are $58 and typically taken once a year, but, depending on your history, may be less frequent. Total spent for the year if you came in twice, $304. Our normal crown price is $921, not $1200. In getting that $1200 crown for $900, did you also have to pay for a crown buildup (necessary when there isn’t enough tooth left to retain the crown, so a good “foundation” is placed first). That buildup might be $345 before your membership discount takes it to $260. Ours is $139, all day, everyday. Take good care of your teeth, coming in for your checkup with little plaque, tartar or stain and pay $65 for your cleaning, not $80; yearly cost now, $274. Do you feel paying for insurance is necessary? Use your history to evaluate it. If you are paying $1000 a year in premiums so you and your spouse can each have two checkups a year and neither have had a filling or crown in a while, you might be better off dropping the insurance, and pocketing the $392 in savings into an HSA account (if eligible). Since most insurance only covers crowns at 50%, in a year and a half, you saved more than enough to cover what insurance would have paid should you find yourself needing a crown.
The most important thing is to find a dentist you like and trust, one that will talk to you about your options.
Helping you show your best asset – your smile. Give us a call.