Monday, September 14, 2015

Ask an International Guy of Mystery

Hi, Guy,

Have you ever written a humorous essay about dental insurance? I ask because about 6000 Americans turn 65 every day of the year. Of those who retire only 33% continue to receive health benefits from their employer, and 75% of those do not get dental insurance.
Not funny, or what's the deal? Dental insurance is a rip-off, and it isn't really insurance at all. It's dollar trading.
Here's the deal. Most dental plans are capped at amounts slightly in excess of their annual premiums. For me the premium would amount to about $1500 for which I'd get a couple of cleanings. It would also cover partial payment toward restorative care and limited lifetime orthodontics, which I don't need.
Without a catastrophic benefit? Hel-lo-o, smash mouth. Catastrophic benefits are a key element of "true (real) insurance" plans.
Why pay a $1500 annual premium to get $350 worth of maintenance service when you can just pay cash for cleaning and spend the balance on green fees and beer with your golf buddies and get an earlier tee time than you know who?
Most health insurance plans cover serious accidental (catastrophic) injury to your natural teeth and also many of the more serious conditions that threaten healthy teeth and vision. What health insurance plans do not cover is routine dental maintenance services and hardware (rubber dams, veneer, whitening, mouth shellac, etc.).
I say you're than man who knows how to write about scandalous stuff and make it seem humorous. Bonus question: Candidate Donny Bob Trump is busting Carly Fiorina's chops about her face being "unelectable." What do you think, and is it covered by dental insurance?
Joe from East of Tomales (a man of simple requirements)


Dear Joe of East Tomales,

First of all, you don't really need teeth to eat tamales. Also, I don't personally find anything amusing about teeth, unless you have the wind-up kind for dentures. That always makes me titter. In my current dental plan, actually fixing teeth is considered "cosmetic" (like hair implants or a nose job). It's up to me as an independent American if I want to look good, and I accept that. My dentist gave me a coupon for a discount on a blender, so when I come home with that burger and fries I just drop them into the Osterizer and drink them. Voila! (I think the food processor is actually my catastrophic plan). I have absolute faith in the big insurance and pharmaceutical companies always looking out for us, and I'm sure that they'd like to get those early tee times as much as we would. Corporations are people, too, and they enjoy a beer and a laugh as much as the next guy.
And speaking of laughs and wags, Donald Trump's dry sense of humor, and his comment about Fiorina's looks, was just an indication of how perfect he would be communicating with other heads of state. Let's face it, Trump is the voice of the American right wing, and those who don't get his subtle, droll message are just dumb and ugly and stupid.
Guy


9 comments:

  1. Guy.
    You don't eat the husk?
    -joe from east of Tomales

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. Guy.
    With wind up dentures you risk having you choppers flip and giving yourself a tonsillectomy. That procedure is not covered by most group health plans; however, join AARP and purchase their Medicare supplement plan. AARP does a decent job of providing options for its members. They won't replace your tonsils, but they'll pay for a new set of dentures.
    Do you know why Dental Maintenance Organizations (DMO's) are known as “capitulation plans”? It's because your dentist gets paid a certain amount each month for treating you whether or not you are seen. If you actually do need to be seen, the dentist wants you out of the office in a hurry because he is losing money when your butt is in his chair; that is, unless you accept his/her special “not covered” $1000 treatment plan.

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  4. Joe,
    I think I have a DMO because my last dental visit involved a reclining chair on wheels, which dumped me back in the parking lot within two minutes. By the way, I now have those wind-up dentures and love them except when they run off during the night and I have to search for them before breakfast.
    Guy

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  5. Guy.
    Most insurance companies sell coverage to individuals and group coverage, either a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) or a DMO.
    Individual coverage limits your choice of dentists, and group coverages assign you a dentist or provides a short list of qualifying dentists. Individual subscribers can expect a long list of costly service add-ons.
    PPO dentists have lower fees in order to get bodies in the office, but once you are there, look out. “Joe, you need a crown. Your insurance pays $400 toward the $750 procedure with silver or how about upgrading to gold for $1150 net to you. And Joe you need a deep cleaning. That's another $250. By the way, Joe, your fillings are old and need to be replaced. I can make you veneers without cutting your teeth, and since you're a new patient I'll do it for $59, but you'll need fluoride treatments plus a night guard mouthpiece to protect the veneers and implants in your reconstructed bite...”
    -joe

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  6. Guy.
    The wooden golf tee was invented by a dentist. Coincidence? I think not.
    Did you know that the current President of Turkmenistan Saparmurat Niyazov is a dentist, and that the dentist/hornplayer Green Vardiman Black invented the foot-driven dental drill is aka a father of modern dentistry? And what are the colors of the Turkmenistan flag? Coincidence? I think not.
    My dentist RJ Peri composed the “A Capella for Drums” while touring Italy with the UC Alumni Chorus and got tossed by the carabinieri from his premiere performance in the piazza in front of the Duomo di Milano. He decided to retire and get a day job. Coincidence? I think not.
    -joe

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  7. Joe,
    This is dangerous territory you're sinking your teeth into. The canal between coincidence and conspiracy is short and leads to the root of much despair. To bridge this stream or drill and fill it not only chomps at the status quo but may gum things up. Have you looked closely at the dollar bill and seen the Turkish iconography? Did you know that the first golf tee was carved from one of George Washington's dentures by Alexander Hamilton, who used it to hit a three hundred hard drive? Coincidences? Like you, I think not, my friend!
    Guy

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  8. Hi Guy.
    Biting commentary, but it is what it is without gaps or orthodoxy. The root of the problem is it's a chronic periradicular. To cap it off it's just pulp, but most people accept it as the prosthesis for predetermination. That's a mouthful. Coincidence? I think not.
    -joe

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  9. This is dangerous territory you're sinking your teeth into. The canal between coincidence and conspiracy is short and leads to the root of much despair. To bridge this stream or drill and fill it not only chomps at the status quo but may gum things up. Have you looked closely at the dollar bill and seen the Turkish iconography? Did you know that the first golf tee was carved from one of George Washington's dentures by Alexander Hamilton, who used it to hit a three hundred hard drive? Coincidences? Like you, I think not, my friend!
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