I finally went to see a local dentist group yesterday and when they handed me the proposed treatment plan, I was shocked to see that Medicaid was only going to pay $154 of the $884 the dentist was going to charge. The rest, $730, was to be my responsibility. So much for having insurance.
My current plan is one of three plans accepted here in Florida by the state. The young lady in the dentist’s office who check me out said that they were not their favorite plan, and that perhaps I could still change to another plan.
I then called the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), but they were closed due to the holiday yesterday. This morning, I called the plan, and was told that they only received the treatment plan today, and that it was being reviewed and that I would hear back in seven to ten days.
In the meantime, I contacted one of my LinkedIn contacts who does medical travel for dental care to Costa Rica, and she will be getting in touch with a dentist down there to compare costs between what they charge in CR, and what the dentist here is proposing.
But the real reason for writing this post today is because Medicaid in Florida limits what services they will cover, and focuses more on the dental care of children, rather than giving adults the same or equal care, relative to their age and medical condition.
For example, Medicaid covers such services for children as: Ambulatory Surgical Center of Hospital-based Dental Services, Dental Exams, Dental Screenings, Dental X-rays, Dentures or Partials, Extractions, Fillings and Crowns, Fluoride, Oral Health Instructions, Orthodontics (Braces), Periodontics, Root Canals, Sealants, Sedation, Space Maintainers, and Teeth Cleanings.
For patients over 21, this is what the all the plans cover: Dental Exams (limited), Dental X-rays (limited), Dentures, Extractions, Pain Management, Problem Focused Exam, Sedation.
There are Extended benefits for patients over 21, and include the following with prior approval from the plan: Additional dental exams, Additional dental x-rays, Additional extractions, Dental screenings, Fillings (silver and white), Fluoride, Oral Health Instructions, Sealants, and Teeth cleanings (basic and deep).
We all know that adult dental care is more comprehensive and more expensive than that of children, yet, there are services missing from the adult plans that should be covered, such as Crowns, Root Canals, Bridges, and yes, even implants. Dentures are so last century.
Fortunately for me, the two teeth that will be extracted are next to each other and are in the back of my mouth, so you can’t see them. But what if they were two front teeth, as the song goes during Christmas? Does Medicaid tell the patient, “Sorry, now you can whistle through the space in your teeth?”
When are we going to catch up with the rest of the Western world and provide all of our citizens with a complete range of services for dental, vision, and medical care that does not cost an arm and a leg? When will we take the profiteering out of health care like other countries do? We need to stop nickle and diming the American people when it comes to our health. We need Medicare for All, not Medicaid that does not provide enough services.