…because it’s something that I can always rant about, apparently.
But let’s be real. If you know me, you know that money is on my mind pretty much all the time. Because how can it not be? Everything cost something, you spend most of your life working so you can afford to buy things, it’s hit the time of the year where health insurance needs to be renewed and Christmas presents need to start being bought and it’s easy to fixate on money before even getting to the point of daydreaming about becoming rich and trading all those troubles away (for an entirely new set of them, but no need to dive into that one).
No, my latest rant on this topic is inspired by the dentist.
I hate the dentist. I am really lucky in the sense that, the one I found where I lived, everyone was so super nice, which helped put me at ease. I hadn’t been to the dentist since I was…a sophomore in high school, I think? It has been a long time. Namely because of fear of someone working on my teeth (because I’ve always been terrified about something happening to my teeth, for some reason; and, I realize, by avoiding the dentist, I increase the risk of poor tooth health which increases the likelihood of that fear becoming a reality, but I am not talking about that logical right now, friends) but not least of all because there was never a cheap dental bill as far as I could remember. And that was with my Mom paying for it all. Now that I was responsible for it, could my wallet really take that kind of hit?
Of course, my teeth started hurting to the point where I knew it was an unhealthy choice to not go, so I bit the bullet and went. It still wasn’t the most pleasant thing and my teeth, while definitely in surprisingly good health for how long I haven’t been, also have obviously been neglected. By the end of it, aside from a couple of minor things I’ll have to deal with eventually, I had one major thing that needed to get done sooner rather than later and has been the source of my mouth pain for the past few months. I had two options: a root canal and a crown for this tooth or pull it.
They called me with the estimates, after dental insurance, that I would pay out of pocket:
For the Root Canal and Crown: $1300
To Extract: $150
Financially, this is a no brainer. That first amount is more than I make in a single paycheck. That’s multiple months of rent; or student loans; or my car payment; or enough to put a deposit down next year on a house for when we move, a great buffer for savings. Granted, I was already weary to go that route anyway, because my family has a history of bad experiences with root canals and crowns, so extracting is the choice I’m more comfortable with, especially since the doctor said it wouldn’t hinder me too much, since the tooth is so far back there.
But it’s the principle of the thing that bothers me.
What if extraction wasn’t an option? What if that was the route I had to go and suddenly, I had to come up with that kind of money? Granted, I am extremely thankful for the option of payment plans (especially without interest) and the like, but at the same time, no matter how long it takes me to pay it, that’s still money I won’t have anymore. And I’m very lucky to be on my Mom’s insurance, which is really good…for 31 more days. But once I switch to my own insurance, I don’t think my coverage would nearly be that good, which means paying even more and I just…
I just don’t understand how society is set up and how they expect people to be able to pay this. Sure, if I didn’t have $20,000 still to pay off in student loans, perhaps I might be able to make that happen without such hardship. And I budget well. I make decent money, even if it is on the lower end. But when you provide services that cost so much that makes it to where you avoid those services to avoid the bill, ultimately putting your health at risk?
There is something wrong with that system.
Don’t get me wrong: I understand that dentists are specialists who deserve to be paid for their work and I obviously and 100% support that. But I still think there is something fundamentally wrong with our system to make it this hard to afford, even with insurance. I don’t even want to consider the horrors without it…
Anyway, just another financial rant to get off the chest. With two cavities to fill and an extraction, I’m looking at roughly $450 total for my next dental visit, at the end of the month. Much more doable than the other option, but still no small amount of pocket change, either.
*sighs and grumbles about the impossible financial obligations and expectations for adults*