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Bluebook Blog

Uncovering healthcare spending and employee engagement solutions

Bluebook Took the Bite Out of My Dental Bill

It's easy to make the right choice when you can see who charges what, but what happens when all you've got is the Fair Price?

Well, I found out a few weeks ago when I went to the dentist.   

I bought a Groupon from a local dentist that included a cleaning, x-rays and what whatever else it is that they need to look at in there. After a very thorough evaluation of my pearly whites, the dentist said I needed to have some work done. Actually, a lot of work. $1,800 worth of work, to be exact.

I was sort of in a rush, but I asked the receptionist to please print out the suggested procedures, with prices and any cash-pay discounts available. That brought it down to about $1,700. Even though I work at Healthcare Bluebook and deal with prices every day, I had no idea if I was getting overcharged or not. After I had some time to digest the idea of needing more done to my teeth, I sat down and found the Fair Price for all of the things the dentist wanted to fix. The first line of the quote was $100 more than the Bluebook Fair Price. So was the second. And the third. You see where this is going. 

After a few emails back and forth with the dentist's office, and asking them to accept the Fair Price as payment, they suggested that I call around to a few other dentists and that would show me their prices weren't as expensive. The second place I called was two miles away and said that their cash-pay prices were significantly lower than the quote I was working from. I visited the new dentist two days later to get a second opinion. Some of the work the first dentist suggested wasn't necessary, and they missed something that needed to be repaired pretty quickly. After one semi-serious procedure, and several small things, I walked out paying just over $1,000. And that included a cash-pay discount and a discount to pay in full that day. 

The moral of my story is that even though you feel like you're being routed down a certain path, you don't have to stay on someone else's course. These were my teeth and my money and I was determined to get the right care at a Fair Price. Even if it meant another 10 minutes on the phone and driving two miles further!

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