Cheap dental care?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by HermitJohn, May 15, 2004.

  1. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Been having interesting discussion with another member here by pm on using Mexican border dentist to save money. Apparently 20 to 30 cents on the dollar. RV crowd use them as well as those living near the border..

    Me, I'm not close to border, and have animals so cant just go off for couple weeks. Also dont speak spanish. However I did get to wondering if anybody here has heard of cheap arranged bus tours for people wanting to do this where everything is set up already, maybe even translator available. I mean used to be charter bus tours for just about every purpose and place. Even some just to go across border to buy perscriptions. Seems like interesting way to bypass the looney toons dental/medical prices in this country where everything is priced for yuppies and the insured only.
     
  2. Doing the bus tour route might be cheaper that US doctors...but, do you have access to any dental schools (usually at the local college)? DH's aunt is a single mom and went to our local one for regular care for quite some time. Its good practice and they(students) are supervised.
     

  3. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Apparently I am in nomans land. Far as I can find there is no dental school in Arkansas. There is one in Louisianna, one in OK, one in MO, and one in TN. I looked up one in Louisianna and they charge half normal retail dentist for student work, full price for work by instructors. Even the student work is 2 to 3 times Mexican dentist. Sure retail dentists would be upset if dental school charged really low prices. And they say there is no price fixing. HA!!!

    Locally I can get around 20% to 40% discount with a dental discount plan (discount card for cash customer, not an insurance plan) where I pay $120 yearly fee up front to join and use a participating dentist. There are around half dozen plans available locally. Around here the plan with cheapest prices only has one local dentist participating 60 miles away. The plans with smaller discounts have upto 7 participating dentists. That one dentist seems to participate in all the locally available plans which I find kind of curious. I do wonder why he wants all the discount patients? He may be ok dentist and just prefer cash and carry patients at a discount rather than hassling with insurance companies. Or he may be a mediocre dentist and this is only way he can get patients. Suppose since I am not set up to travel, this is what I'll end up doing. Lot of dentists in phone book., but they are full retail and have up to a 3 month wait for an appointment. Know last year I went through calling most of their offices. Finally found an ok one in smaller town that could take me within a week, but he specialized in cheap dentures and didnt do root canals. Gave me recommendation to specialists in bigger towns costing beaucoup bucks so I just procrastinated. Tooth wont let me procrastinate much longer. There may be other damage also so I am expecting the worst.
     
  4. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    How do they want to be paid? Do they want Mexican currency, American currency, or do they take American credit cards?
     
  5. OUVickie

    OUVickie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Is there a low-income Health Clinic in your area? There is one in OKC and they have a dentist too. My Mom has used them a couple of times, since she's on a fixed income. If there isn't one right near you and you're in Arkansas, check in Ft. Smith. Surely there's something you can do, even if you call a dentist yourself and make a deal with him up front on cost. Some health care providers are more compassionate to those who aren't insured.
    Hope you find one, I understand your dilemma! :(
     
  6. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    I am not interested in charity services, just a fair price. Just a point of interest, I do believe my neighbor (Chuck the drunk, disabled and on SSI because he is drunk most of time) mentioned a low income dental charity place in Fayetteville. However they fill teeth and pull teeth, and do cheap dentures, they dont do root canals and crowns. As to negotiating with a dentist on price, they wont talk about it. Why should they since they are booked way ahead in this area. I've been told more than once to talk billing with the person at the desk, I dont deal with that. Of course the person at desk has no authority to negotiate price, they at best just offer a payment plan. If you call on phone, yea, right like you would ever get to actually talk to dentist unless you were already a customer and had a medical question.

    Really bugs me the rampant greed in Americas health care system. In earlier times there was always some dentist in lower income and rural areas, maybe even working out of a room in back of his house. No sliding income scales, no welfare, no insurance, he just had straight across prices that average local could pay out of pocket. Same with local doctor.

    Now with all the gee whiz hi-tech stuff and all the insurance and government programs, all care is priced top dollar and if you dont have top dollar income or insurance, well you better go beg to your uncle sam or local welfare program. How about we still have some practitioneers that can see opportunity in offering low prices for basic service to attract customers without top dollar income/insurance? Do they all need the latest high tech everything and the fancy offices and to drive fancy cars? I'd be happy to be treated by somebody using 1950's dental technology if they were skilled and kept clean office, but also charged so average person could just pay out of pocket.

    Well, while up on soapbox concerning health care, I just recently found out couple weeks ago from penpal that works in hospital billing dept, that now if I ever have to go to hospital, I will be royally screwed as a cash and carry customer. Seems hospitals charge cash paying customers double the price the insurance companies pay. If you have minimal insurance apparently you are still billed at insurance company rate for that which insurance doesnt cover. But woe to the person willing to pay all cash with no insurance. They say they are just giving the insurance companies a volume break, but seems to me they are punishing those without insurance or welfare coverage when they should give them a big discount for paying cash in full. Seems somebody is pushing to eliminate anybody going without either insurance or welfare coverage. More power to anybody stiffing any hospital with such greed and gall.
     
  7. OUVickie

    OUVickie Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Oh, I totally agree with you. When I lived in the city, believe or not, there was an eye doctor who had a flat fee for the visit and he made the glasses himself there in his office. His office was very plain, no fancy furniture and such, which means he probably didn't owe a bunch of money to some bank. I liked him and I found him through the place I worked for, so, he gave people there a discount. It was so nice not to be ripped off.
    Our dental school at the Health Sciences Center is the only one I know in our area that works like that. We had a Nurse-practioner who was working that way too and she had a Doctor that supervised by checking records and all, but I guess some of the other Docs in the area ran her out or she moved on cause her clinic was only open a few years and now she's gone.
    The only other way around here to get service like that is if you have a CDB card from a tribe. I'm mixed-blood but not a card carrier, fortunately though, I have insurance through the University. Although, the stinker who runs the benefit office got a bad carrier last year and now everyone is having trouble paying what's left after they decide NOT to pay it.
    I don't want taxes to go up, but I sure wish we had socialized medicine like Canada or if they would just put price controls on Health Care. It's absolutely ridiculous, just like you've said. My daughter is in the same quandry, no insurance and can't find anyone to take her with a flat rate now the Peggy's Clinic is gone. My Hubby doesn't have any either and I hold my breath on that one since he's over 40 and a smoker. It's become a sad situation in a country that's supposed to be so wealthy. :(
     
  8. havellostmywings

    havellostmywings Well-Known Member

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    hmmm I am very interested in this....

    I went to the dentist and they quoted $6000 to fix my mouth.. and my insurance would only cover $100 of it...

    and since i am in texas... hmmm

    if any one can send me some info.. please...

    Thanks in advance

    Lynn in texas
     
  9. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    The words "Cheap" and "Dental Care" don't belong in the same sentence.

    Earlier this year, I needed a root canal and a crown. $1650.

    My father, who "winters" in South Texas, goes across the border to Mexico for his dental needs. Dental care in Mexico is approx 30% of what gringo dentists charge.
     
  10. charles

    charles Well-Known Member

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    "Now with all the gee whiz hi-tech stuff and all the insurance and government programs, all care is priced top dollar and if you dont have top dollar income or insurance, well you better go beg to your uncle sam or local welfare program. How about we still have some practitioneers that can see opportunity in offering low prices for basic service to attract customers without top dollar income/insurance? Do they all need the latest high tech everything and the fancy offices and to drive fancy cars? I'd be happy to be treated by somebody using 1950's dental technology if they were skilled and kept clean office, but also charged so average person could just pay out of pocket."


    When you wish for the 50's dental and medical care (and without government intrusion) relationships you really have to go overseas. Best medical care I ever got was in Peru. U.S. trained doctor, visit to the finest hospital emergency room, drugs, private telephone number to the doctor's house, etc.

    Cost me $20.00. The diagnosis, emergency, and follow through care were great.
    And no need for approval to buy your drugs.

    In the U.S. we have so many layers and layers of control with vested interest that doctors don't and certainly patients don't have any control anymore.

    There is a reason for no self-pay anymore (except at we-will-punish-you double the price rate), it doesn't empower anybody but the patient, no one else gets a job, your transactions and care are private, and the government looses a big voice (read control) in what you do with your life.

    Go West old Man! (or south).
     
  11. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Here are a couple of references I found on another board:

    "I have been very pleased with the Washington Dental Clinic at 2nd at Ocampo in TJ. My family and I have gone there for several years, good work at very good prices. They have a US 800#: 800-207-9223."

    "My brother uses a dentist in Tecate, this is his reommendation.

    HIS NAME IS GABRIEL ADAME DDS. 251 ORTIZ RUBIO AV. TECATE MEX. BC. PHONE# 001 52 665 654 14 49 TELL THE RECEPTIONIST YOU WERE REFERRED BY DR RICHARD MONTGOMERY OF SPRING VALLEY. HE IS MY NEIGHBOR HE IS A RETIRED CHIROPRACTOR."

    Here's one for whom there's no complete address-- but I have seen him cited several times:

    "My dentist is Dr. Carlos Rivas, at Zona Centro, Ensanada (I think it is something like 7-77 Gastum)..I'll try to dig out exact info. I always
    get cards when I go down (I think 6yrs. now) but, I keep giving them away! I can give directions on how to get there, not hard. His father, also a dentist, has a hotel and gives discounts when you go down for work.(I haven't stayed there however) Very nice folks, I once showed up from Seattle without contacting him to find his office gutted, his worker got on the phone and called him at home, he came in on a saturday bringing his sister to assist, also a dentist (family business I guess)he used his father's office to take care of me, he knew I came a long way,I'd like to hear where you get that kind of service in the states, and the price was 1/10th what you would pay in the states! I guarentee he has more high-tech equipment than you have ever seen. no more yucky cardboard things stuffed into you gums to take x-rays! "
     
  12. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    From another board...
    My husband and I have used the Washington Dental Clinic in Juarez Mexico since late 1999. The El Paso office is able to accept certain insurance claim forms for work completed. Toll free numbers are 1-800-538-6492 or 1-800-813-7862 to the El Paso office. Appointments can almost always be made even for the next day. General prices will be quoted over the telephone and cash is expected before you see the dentist (even when your insurance form will be processed). Credit cards are accepted. Free transportation is provided from many El Paso motels and locations as well as a parking garage close to the border. Return transportation is quite timely. Individuals you deal with over the telephone speak English as does the receptionist at the Juarez clinic. Not all dentists speak English comfortably, but there is always a bilingual technician available to intercede and make certain the customer understands the process. Any prescriptions must be filled on the Mexico side before crossing the border.

    It is amazing to watch the flow of customers on any given day (they are closed only on Sundays) that have come across the border - at the Washington Clinic alone!
     
  13. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm...1000 miles from Little Rock to El Paso,not sure thats much help for you John.
    BooBoo
     
  14. See if there is a university in your area with a dental school - usually very cheap.
     
  15. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Thats the heck of it. Thanks alot for looking up all the info though. I didnt find that detailed of info on the RV site. It will probably help somebody. Heck if I were facing that $6000 estimate that Havellostmywings is, I could hire somebody to look after pets, rent a car, and pay for a motel for couple weeks just to be able to go to Mexican dentist. And still come out way ahead.
    Nice that dentist mentioned offers all those perks like picking you up in El Paso motel and returning you there. I'm sure he isnt cheapest dentist in area, but worth little extra to pay for handholding when a newbie to international dealings.

    Oh well, I do need to talk to at least couple of dentists locally that will work under these discount plans I mention. Even with best plan, know its going to be $1000 to $1200 just to do one root canal and a crown. Have feeling that thorough exam will find more work that needs to be done. Just crazy, there is no reason in world other than greed for this to be over $500. Worse than that is a system which institutionalizes such greed and locks it into place.
     
  16. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    No dental schools in AR that I could find and the one I checked in neighboring state didnt offer enough of a price break to make it worth while.
     
  17. CraftyDiva

    CraftyDiva Is anybody here?

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  18. Kathleen in WI

    Kathleen in WI Formerly Kathleen in AR

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    There is a community clinic in Springdale that provides medical and dental services. I wouldn't call it "charity", its simply based on your income--which seems fair to me. I'm not sure what dental services they provide but you can call them at 479-751-7417. Its near the Jones Center if that helps.
    Kathleen
     
  19. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Craftydiva. The site I had found showed half dozen plans including this one but only show it with its "LIME" fee schedule and not its "RED" schedule. The red schedule is as cheap as any plan out there. Unfortunately no dentist offering the red fee schedule near me. Only couple in far NE AR and several in OK. I'll have to get map out and see which of red schedule dentists in OK are closest. Saw one in Tulsa which isnt out of question, but I absolutely hate driving in city if there is a smaller town alternative or at least one closer. That red schedule plan might just keep my total bill under $1000 but thats still ridiculously high price in my brain.
     
  20. Mike in Pa

    Mike in Pa Well-Known Member

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    Kenny Runion says... " local feller pull yer teeth with a pair a homemade pliers ... wouldn't charge ya a dime ... put his knee right here on yer chest and start pullin ... GREAT GOODNESS! ... when it was all done you wouldn't owe him a dime ... no sir, not a dime"

    From memory from FOXFIRE.