Monday, August 17, 2009

Teeth Are Expensive

As I've mentioned in the past (and talked about more on my personal blog), I am in the process of getting my teeth prepared for oral surgery (in other words, I have braces). As of my most recent conversation with my orthodontist, the surgery is looking to be early next year.

Since I'm now about 6 months away from surgery, I'm starting to think about it a lot more. As a result, I've joined some online forums and groups for people going through jaw surgery (this is a nasty surgery - trust me, support groups are very helpful!). While reading through these forums, I've come to the realization that I never really got any hard numbers for how much this surgery will cost.

When I first discussed oral surgery with my surgeon (almost 2 years ago), his office sent a "Request for Benefits" to my insurance at the time. That came back with a cost of just under $10,000 for the surgery. I've kept that number in the back of my mind all this time.

As I've been reading through the forums lately, I've discovered that the $10,000 is just my surgeon's fee! The big cost is actually the hospital bill, which could run up to another $25,000! Yikes!

The reason this is a big deal is that it can be difficult to get this surgery covered through insurance. It gets submitted to your medical insurance, not your dental insurance. From what I hear, medical insurance companies like to deny it on the basis of it being "cosmetic". I may need to submit extra documents/xrays/etc. to try to prove to them that I need surgery because of a jaw deficiency.

At any rate, I called the oral surgeon's office last week and asked them to submit for approval from my current medical insurance company. Please say a little prayer that they will cover the surgery. I really don't want to have to try to come up with $35,000!