Medical vs. Dental Insurance

Should Dental insurance be better than it is? Hell Yes!

Instead of writing about writerly things, today I wanted to share an opinion with you.  Yes, I want to opine.

What many fail to recognize is dental care –the condition of your teeth- is directly related to your state of health.  If you have decay, the bacteria at work which are destroying your teeth; you also end up ingesting.  While a fair bit of that decay is most probably killed in that acid pit known as your stomach, much of it does not get destroyed.  The toxins created can infect your heart.

This same bacteria creates a toxic environment in your body, adversely affecting your health.  If you imagine your body with one of those video game health bars on top of it, yours is not at 100%.  The lower that health bar, the more effect that bacteria and other bacteria and viruses can degrade your health.

The lower that bar, the more susceptible you are to common ailments like the cold, the flue, yes, the dreaded virus from a country we will not mention and … cancers of different kinds.

Brushing your teeth is but one small piece of the puzzle.  Much like what you watch on TV, read or experience in life can degrade your mental health, everything you put into your mouth or even breathe in or inhale can have devastating effects on your health.

Insurance does not adequately cover dental health.  Yes, it will pay for a cleaning, and you should go twice a year and get your teeth cleaned. 

Insurance does not cover it because nobody makes a stink about it, as few genuinely understand the cause and effect, and dentistry in and of itself causes any sane person to cringe and not want to think about it.

The sound of dental suction is akin to nails on a chalkboard.

I know you hate the dentist.  I know a few who like them.  In my case, if you knew me in person, you would know that I have friends from all walks of life.  Dentists are among them. They are just people like you and I.  Frequently I will take my dentist to lunch.  Like you and I, they have other interests or hobbies, and that is how we relate.

Predatory lending has entered into this arena.

Imagine you go to your dentist.  You have put this visit off for just about any reason you can imagine.  You finally go as you are now in pain. ARGHH.

He or she does an examination, takes an x-ray, and the decay (cause of the pain) has reached what they call the dentine part of the tooth.  That is just past the enamel and into the part of the tooth with nerve endings.

The pinch of the needle is only the beginning part of the procedure.  While some dentists are better at this than others, it is not pleasant.

At this point, the hissing of suction is accompanied by the high pitched scream of the drill.  Bits of water and other vapors leave your mouth.  As the dentist sticks something in your mouth called an ‘explorer’ the fun begins

 They feel for that resistance of mushy parts of the tooth that the decay (bacteria) has been eating.

The options are narrowing as you are now confronted with what is known as a root canal, as the decay has reached into the nerve chamber.

If your dentist does root canals, he or she will probably ‘spray’ some more nerve-blocking agent as they have to drill into the nerve chamber, dig out the nerve, killing the tooth, and of course, removing the source of pain.

The simple filling just jumped up in price over a thousand dollars, only to treat that little bit of decay.  But wait, there is more.

Now that the tooth is dead, they must put a crown on it as the dead tooth will quickly degrade and will break with pressure from you masticating (chewing) your food.

If you are lucky, they will do what is known as a core build-up while you are numb.  By this time, you have already been standing on your head for two hours.  Your jaw is sore, and any limits of patience have been breached long ago.

Numb, equipped with a temporary crown, you head up to the front desk.  From the pain in your head, you now get a kick in the pants.

Insurance pays different levels on different procedures.  With a max of $2K a year, you have already maxed it out on one tooth.  But wait…

Your part is $600 for your visit today.  Mine was $1,468 yesterday of what was supposed to be a replacement of fillings that leaked.  That is another story.

Where do you come up with $600?  Like most, you pull out that plastic card.

Here is where predatory lending comes in to play.

If your dentist is honest, they will tell you what your options are, one of them is to pull the tooth.

Removing the tooth is the worst decision you can make if they can save it, but many people cannot scrape together $500 if they had to. This is the sad fact of the world we live in. 

While the elites are poking their fingers in the air, you know the ones who live in gated communities. Those are the same with $24K subzero freezers; eating 16 dollars a pint ice cream, have no conception of how ‘normal’ people must live.  These are the people who fly private jets from San Fransisco to DC on your tax dollars.  These are the same people who claim they care about you by telling you how you should think and vote. 

These are the same folks who hire private security firms to guard their ivory towers but feel that not only should you not have a way to protect yourself, but you don’t need cops either.  Pffft!

They are the real predators, who allow credit card people like the above mentioned to screw you and I. Why?  Those predators buy them.  How else do you think a public servant goes to DC an average person and ends up a multi-millionaire? 

We, the smelly Wallmart shoppers, are forced to buy inferior things made in China, or some country that we could not find on a map, are not the kinds of folks who wouldn’t dream of buying $16 a pint designer ice cream.

Now you are forced to make a decision.  Pull the tooth, or fix it. 

There is an option that you see advertised all over the dental offices.

Care Credit.  Zero percent for 6 months!

This last tooth that turned into a root canal cost over $6K when all was said and done.   I won’t even go into the pain aspect of this procedure.  There were multiple visits, and because of Corona, it took months to get in, get scheduled, and finally get it finished.

This particular tooth turned into a root canal as the previous crown ‘leaked.’  That means that everything that went into my mouth, some minuscule part made it under the crown, allowing decay to form.

 Insurance pays damned little of a crown as they figure it is for vanity and not health reasons.

Your teeth are there so you can adequately get your nutrition into small enough bits so your stomach can do its part. 

Teeth are not just for a pretty smile; they have a purpose.

Back to predatory credit cards.  Zero-interest for six months and 26.9% for every nickel not paid back in six months.

While charging the dentist 3% of the sale, they wait patiently for you, the borrower, to default on your part.

This is the type of credit most people who do not have decent credit scores get, and that is how they get away with the high percentage rate.  The other option is 14% from the get-go, which is still damned high.

The dentist most probably bake the 3% into what they charge you, so you are paying the extra charges too.

Money at this stage of the game is cheap.  If you look at your savings account, you will see you are getting less than 1%.  In my case, I am earning .05% on savings accounts.

If you are forced to using savings vs. charging, use your savings.  If you can pay it back in Six months, use that option and make sure you pay it off.

So darlings, here are you marching orders ….

First, take care of your teeth.  Visit your dentist every six months, and get them cleaned.  I don’t care how much you hate them.  Put on your big girl panties, or big boy underwear, and go do it.  Feel the fear and do it anyway.

Here is a trick that they don’t tell you.  I recently discovered this. Get a mouth wash that has peroxide in it.  Why?

There are two types of bacteria, one that messes up your gums and the other that eats your teeth.  I don’t care how good you brush; you will not remove all the bacteria.  Peroxide based mouth wash will foam and have you looking like a rabid animal.  That is fine, do it.  Please keep it in your mouth for at least a minute and then brush as usual.

Don’t swallow it.

Secondly, keep floss handy. After you eat something, floss.

As the last bit of dental hygiene, do this…  Keep gum on your person, not just any gum but gum with xylitol, sorbitol…(sugar-free)..  If you like soft drinks, monster drinks, and so on, guess what, the bacteria that destroys your teeth love that stuff too.

Drink water instead or at the very least after you enjoy that carbonated battery acid then, chew some gum.  (I’m not too fond of gum.)  I have lots of it around and carry it with me.  Know what I hate more than gum, yep, dental pain. 

Lastly, use a straw.  When you drink Coke or other acidic drinks, you bathe your teeth in that stuff.  A straw will put most of it past your front teeth and allow you that same satisfying belch after the fact.

Wait TW, think of the turtles! 

Hey, don’t throw your shit in the ocean. 

Have you seen the tons of plastic refuse floating in the ocean? Who does that? What subhuman ass hat does that? I am more worried about those types of things than I am climate change.

If you chew gum, don’t be that asshole that spits it on the ground.  Keep a tissue handy and deposit it in the trash.

What else can you do?

Firstly you can re-press this post so others might see it. Do someone else a solid, and help them out.

Secondly, you could contact your congressperson and tell them that insurance should cover dental issues for more than it currently does.  No, that does not include a pretty ‘grill.’  If you have money for that, don’t talk to me about not having money for cavities.

If you are confronted with using the Care Credit card, realize that if you cannot pay it back in six months, choose the other option and know that 14% is still expensive money.

Dentists can typically tell from the x-ray what the treatment plan will involve.  Crowns are not a lifetime fix.  They guarantee them for five years, and…here is the kicker, that warranty is usually tied to your continued visits, including dental cleaning.

Know that an implant is about $6K each.  Implants probably last a lifetime, but I am not sure about that.

The best course of action is to take care of what you were born with.

I hope that you find some part of this epistle helpful.

Much Love -TW

Quality of life or Quantity of life?

How would you answer this?

 

If you have ever heard that question before you know where this blog is going.

Today, Well yesterday…it all blurs together when you are sleep deprived, a very dear friend of mine was asked this very question by their doctor.

I was there in a supportive role.  Expecting such a thing did not lessen the sting.

Quality of life and death with dignity or Quantity of life while we do all this stuff to prolong your existence.

Many of you reading this might very well be asked this one day.  How will you respond?

More than the how is they why?

You and I walk through our daily life expecting the sun to rise in the morning.  We anticipate that whatever is on our schedule for this day we will have to deal with.  Taking the kids to the doctor or school or possibly some problematic task to tend to at work we know it is on our calendar.

All of these things are distractions really.  They are distractions from our own mortality.

If you are one of my many followers you no doubt have read my account of the accident that befell me years ago.  You know that I faced death once.  Facing our own mortality is different than facing your friends or families death.

My friend through some herculean efforts by different medical facilities could possibly live months to years longer.  The steps necessary to pull that off would interfere significantly with not only their life but those of their loved ones.

How would you face such a thing?

If you put out your friends and family in a pretty big way, you could live longer.  Your quality of life would be limited.  You could ostensibly live a reasonably normal life other than spending several hours a week tethered to some machine.

My heart breaks for my friend.  I don’t know what decision I would make if it were me, so it is impossible for me to judge them.

This situation runs askance of my beliefs, but I do think that assisted suicide should be legal.  While Hospice is wonderful the person going through it must suffer while the organs and other tissues die from lack of nourishment or the buildup of toxins cause them to shut down.

Why in god’s name we cannot just allow them to go with a morphine drip is beyond me.  This country alone kills tens of thousands of babies every year but is hung up on letting terminally ill patients push a button that starts a morphine drip. This action slowly overwhelms their body with a sedative allowing them to just float away.  It is, in fact, an overdose.

As they sort out the legal details of who is paying for what the patient, my friend is in limbo as to where they will go to live out their remaining days on earth.  Calls are made, but of course, they are not returned in a timely fashion.  Insurance will not pay for long-term care if Hospice is involved and Medicare will not pay for Hospice if they still need medical care.

The merry go round of the bureaucracy is never-ending.  To them everything is numbers.   A funeral today is up to $20K if you already have a plot!  That is here in Dallas.

Everything is about money!

Listening to the doctors, I got the idea that they were talking them into death with dignity and quickly as it is less expensive to keep you around since you need so much care.

Possibly I am jaded as I sat there for days on end watching my friend decline.  I see the bureaucracy, and it is rampant!   Wading through it is a nightmare.

  • Do you have a living will?
  • Do you have life insurance?
  • Do you have a regular will?
  • Do you have a long-term care policy?

No, not selling anything like this and I certainly do not want to bring you down.

You who follow me know that I love people and I want the best for my friends.  In a genuine way that includes you who follow me here.

One never knows when the sun is not going to rise, and that is a sad but true fact.  We don’t know what is in store after this life is over.  We hope that we will be back with our loved ones and even snowball the cat.  I see the afterlife that preachers sell, and I will not sell that here.

Having said that, I think and believe that faith is essential.  A spiritual connection is paramount to dealing with the death of the body.

Christians call it fire insurance and I scoff at that.  I must admit that if you don’t take it too seriously, it is funny.

I have many thoughts on this subject, and if there is interest, I will expound upon them at a later date.

If you are a spiritual person I encourage you to lift me up in your thoughts and prayers.  I have this friend who will be dead in a short while, and I have another who suffers from an incurable disease that will most certainly end their life as they know it as well.  Two close friends at the same time.

This will present a considerable loss to me personally.  My writing has already suffered as the characters are taking a hiatus while I deal this.

My thoughts are with the one on death’s door and the other who is trying to find death’s door on which to knock.

Thanks so much for your kind thoughts and prayers.

Much Love -TW

 

Healthcare the Final Frontier

Hate is a poison that you take in hopes that it will affect someone else.

With our somewhat screwed up world, everything becomes a political football. (pun intended)
I am not going to try and figure out the answer for healthcare. Is it a right, privilege or commodity? I would say, (yes!) While we argue about socialism again with political Einsteins like Bernie, our hope seems somewhat lost. Healthcare is a commodity like food, water, electricity and so forth. You want it; you pay for it.

The rub comes when we have large parts of society who are somewhat irresponsible with their resources and misspend them. Working in the ER, we saw lots of accidents or gunshot victims with gold teeth or tattoos, beautiful clothing, packages of cigarettes and no insurance. On top of that when the toxicology reports came back many were full of drugs or “recreational chemistry.”

Folks, if you work two jobs, are dead tired on your feet, and still have the family to take care of, seeing this will piss you off! The people who live in ivory towers are removed from reality. Also, the people who cannot (or will not) find work, are also removed from reality. Their idea of reality is not mainstream.

Reality is working your ass off, watching your paycheck taken from you in fees and taxes, and then seeing the freeloaders calling you a racist for not wanting to pay their way too! That is tough stuff. It is hard not to become jaded. When gaming the system is an art, that we could write a dummies book about, something needs to change.

Here is why…
I have such a friend who worked two jobs and has taken care of families and been there to assist others when they down. “A good person!”
She recently was diagnosed with Cancer.
Cancer is a scary word, and if the body is not treated as a whole, the prognoses can get bleak.  The doctors order test and procedures, and she pushes forward dutifully going to this doctor or that. The chemo makes her sick; the surgeries are painful. Her hair is all but gone, and then she sees yet another specialist.
This doctor wants to do XYZ . The insurance company declines it, and then the ballet ensues. Phone calls are left, and messages and e-mails from you to many who don’t  care about their job are written. They sit in their chair for eight hours and talk on the phone when they have to. Communications go unanswered, and another form letter is pushed out the door, denying coverage.

While your phone call to them is critical to you, where they are concerned it is simply another task that they have to do.  This can be put off until after lunch or Monday or whenever they just are forced to deal it with it.  Your problem is not theirs and they don’t care.

The text from their friend or family or perhaps what is going on with facebook ranks higher than what you need.

Their hope is that you just give up.
Here is the issue. When someone is sick whether it be cancer or some other illness the entire body needs to be treated as a whole thing. Spirits need to be high and the person not only should be kept comforted but, comfortable. They do not need the frustration of dealing with auto adjudicated edicts from the damned insurance company.

Why are they auto?  Becuase the people who have the job to assist you are more concerned with where they are going for lunch or who Jane is sleeping with, on some tv show.

I worked behind the scenes for too many years, trust me; this is life in corporate America.

Hate and anger feed cancer; I am convinced of it. Hate is a poison that you take in hopes that it will affect someone else. Foolish person, hate is killing you.

Frustration with a  stuffed up system breeds anger which breeds hate.
Any time there is a decline in coverage an actual human should be required to look at the original request and see if the nurse or doctor forgot to check some box. Instead of looking for ways to deny coverage, they should be required to look for any way possible to pay for it. I realize that is counterproductive for the bottom line but folks, that is where the problem lies.

So here is another idea I am going to give away!

Someone who knows the healthcare industry and insurance industry should provide a service and sell it like insurance. The service would be the go-between, between your doctor and your insurance company and you. Like we have agents for car insurance we need an actual agent to deal with the insurance company.
You call your agent and tell them; I am going in for testing I may have something wrong.
Your agent then gets involved on your behalf and slogs through the red tape of bureaucracy and employees who don’t want to do their jobs, and is your advocate.

Instead of you fighting with a system that you are most probably ill-equipped to deal with, your advocate does it for you.
Usually, we call these lawyers, but I don’t think we need lawyers. With all of the layoffs in the insurance industry with the outsourcing and ravages left from the Obama Care debacle, there should be a plethora of folks who might want to tackle this and make a company out of it. Maybe the H&R Block folks who might not have work in the near future could take on the mantle of Health Advocate. HA for short.

Look, if you make millions of dollars with my idea, please keep me in mind, at least buy some of my books!

If you are a patient, who needs such a service tell me what you think.
Would something like this work?
I think having an advocate on your side to deal with the crap while you focused on getting better would assist many and possibly cut the cost of healthcare.
Many claims that are denied are simple coding errors, but since a computer looks for every dot to be filled correctly and adjudicates the petition based on human filled in dots, that is where the bulk of the problems arise. It is a simple truth table to the computer. IF A+B=C then everything is a go. One bit out of place, and it is denied.

Many just don’t bother to fight it and guess what, you are fighting for your life, so I get it.

Send this to @RealDonaldTrump about a million times, and maybe he will see it.

We need a little common sense in the industry and a little compassion for those who are dealing with illnesses like cancer. We need to keep the special interest and politicians out of it as they are responsible for the mess we have today. Many are paying thousands of dollars a month for insurance they will never use. If they do need it one has to wonder what it would cover.

Would it be better just to pay your way for the cheap stuff and then not have insurance and go to the ER anyway? That is the current system for many Americans and non-Americans alike. And that is one reason the cost of healthcare is so damned high!

You are indeed paying for the deadbeats and yes that is socialism.   If you can afford to pay for it, you pay in spades.

If a senator has issues, do you think he or she worries about what will be paid for?

To quote Lilly Allen, “It’s not fair!”

Go check out some of my books. If you are a sci-fi person or a romantic kind of person I have it all. If you need a laugh, which we all do, go and check out some of my novels. Warm-hearted romance, to a nude romp through the galaxy in Saga of the Starduster.

Much Love – TW

Do ads work?  My Sunday afternoon thoughts.

 

A young father learned over this weekend that one of his commodes was not working.  Using the plunger as one might think to do, soon a toy came floating to the surface.  One more flush and still water did not go to where it should have, instead, it flowed over the bowl and onto the already overly wet tile floor.

Not happy about this, the next trip was to the hardware store to buy one of those snakes that you twist and crank while the wire makes its way through the clog.

Once again another toy is retrieved via the snake.

 

Do ads work?

 

Yes but not always as intended, you see this ad targeting parents to get insurance for such events planted the seeds of an idea in his young children.  While I am certain that his children were not upset with their toys, the idea of them transforming in this vortex of liquid, disappearing into the void of pipes under the house was inspiring to their young minds.

They may have never thought of that idea without the seed planted by the advertising firm.

When Dumb and Dumber was released, people actually were killed pulling some of the stunts in the movie.  Admittedly this was the “hold my beer and watch this crowd.” It is a sad fact that some people need a keeper.

Some ideas are so stupid that anyone with a brain should know not to do it.  While you cannot blame the children for mimicking something that they saw on TV, you can most certainly hold those young people from high school up, accountable, they should know better.

There was a story circulating on Twitter where people were dressed in women’s underclothes parading around a freeway blocking traffic.  Soon you see one young man dancing around in a bra and slip when a large green bus takes him out of the picture, “Exit stage right!”

 

Was he hurt?  We don’t know.  It probably did not feel too good to have a large bus hit you and remove you from the freeway.

When people do stupid things who are accountable for their actions, should the drivers of cars and such be criminally liable for hitting such people?

Should the creator of that ad for insurance be responsible for flooded bathrooms everywhere that toys made their way down the commode as a response to children seeing it?

Should the folks who hit those men laying on the freeway as they did in dumb and dumber be held liable for their part in the deaths of those idiots?

Darwinism has some major truths to it.  Survival of the fittest is how it works  The “hold my beer and watch this crowd” could become an endangered species.  “You can’t fix stupid.”

Yes, ads work.  Sometimes they work a little too good in that the message gets lost in the actions of actors.

Have a great rest of your weekend, Enjoy the eclipse tomorrow if you are where it will be visible, and by all means have a great week!

 

Much Love -TW