My dear husband called me this morning at 8:30am and said it’ll be $3,700 and please come pick me up in an hour. That woke me up faster than five cups of coffee. No, my husband was not calling from jail. He was calling from the dentist’s office, the periodontist’s office to be exact.
I was shocked. I paid $3,000 for labor and delivery charges for the birth of our second daughter in November 2007. I stayed in the hospital for two days and was served salmon with hollandaise sauce. So a one hour procedure was going to cost $3,700?
Pregnant without maternity coverage had made me an excellent healthcare negotiator. So when my husband needed some dental work, I did some research and began calling local periodontists to see what I could negotiate. To my dismay, I found it to be much harder to get any kind of financial information over the phone. Everyone required a consult before they quoted anything. Now I wasn’t asking for a written quote, just a verbal ball park figure.
Finally, I made the appointment with the periodontist recommended by our dentist. He also had the most reasonable consult fee, so I figured his other fees should be reasonable too. So just before he is about to go under the knife, my husband calls me to inform me of the total. Obviously at this point, I have little bargaining room, but I still managed to cut the fee about 10% to $3,400.
Since we didn’t have that much in our HSA account, we paid it from our savings account. Now we have to come up with another $3,400 to fund the HSA account so that we can write a check to ourselves from that account. Complicated and confusing, but that’s the brave world of healthcare we live in today.
On the positive side, the doctor was very nice and did a great job. I actually would recommend him.