I Need the Tooth Fairy Now More than Ever

If you’ve been following along with my posts, you’ll know I’ve been complaining about my wisdom teeth removal for awhile.  The recovery was truly miserable and even the hydrocodone I was prescribed did not provide enough relief at times.  Fortunately, I found a silver lining because the procedure was less expensive than I had budgeted for!

I was quoted $2,200 for the procedure.  Through a sinking fund, I set aside $2,221.94 to cover the costs.  The total cost of the procedure ended up being $1,865, which was surprising given that one of my teeth was pretty badly impacted and was a little more difficult to remove than expected.  I also spent $17.50 on prescriptions, bringing my total to $1,882.50, a few hundred less than I budgeted.

At the time of service, I was required to pay 20%, or $373.  The rest was submitted to my health insurance company.  I do not have dental insurance (I generally find it to be a waste of money because, knock on wood, I have never had a single cavity or any other issue with my teeth, so I just pay for my biannual exams and X-rays out of pocket).  Even if I had picked up dental insurance for this year, there is a one year waiting period before major procedures like this can be done and even then, only a portion of the expenses are covered.  It would have involved extra time (which I would not have been excited about because that one difficult tooth I mentioned earlier was causing pain prior to the removal) and may not have resulted in much of a savings anyway.

I knew going into the procedure that my health insurance company would pay for very little, if any, of the expenses.  The only oral surgeon in the town I live in is an out-of-network provider for this company.  The nearest in-network provider is 180 miles from where I live.  That would mean a minimum of 6 hours roundtrip drive time just to get to/from the appointment and if I was required to do any follow-up visits, that would be further added time and expense.  Again, not worth it to me.  In this case, I was willing to pay more for convenience.  I contacted my insurance company prior to scheduling the procedure to discuss how it would work.  Only two of my four teeth were impacted, so those were eligible to be processed through my health insurance.  While I would not receive any additional plan savings from the insurance, it will count towards my in-network rather than out-of-network deductible for the plan year, so that’s good news.

My insurance company would not apply $114.07 of the bill towards my deductible because it was for ineligible expenses (whatever that means).  So, after all was said and done, $1,350.93 was applied to my in-network deductible of $2,000 and I owed the oral surgeon the remaining amount of $1,492.  I paid for that with my travel rewards credit card which I’ll pay off in full (sorry, Dave Ramsey!), so I’ll be able to build up some rewards points without paying any interest on the purchase.  My sinking fund has $339.40 left over, which I am going to immediately roll into my home savings fund.

I want to express how truly thankful I am for being on this journey to financial independence because without it, paying for a $2,000+ dental procedure would have been a major setback for me.  This time, I was able to schedule it a few months in advance (I recognize not all procedures have this flexibility), set up a sinking fund so I could cash flow the procedure, and pay the bill without being stressed out over the cost.

So, all in all, I am pleased with how this expense played out, although having the tooth fairy who pays me for the loss of four teeth rather than requiring me to spend $500 per tooth would have been welcomed. 🙂

Talk to you next week!



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