It was February 2009 when I wrote my first post about going to the doctors, and ended it by declaring that for my next exciting adventure I may go in search of a dentist. Didn’t take me long, did it?
Yes, last week I went to the dentist. It was actually my second visit to the dentist since arriving in Australia three years ago. Naughty me, I should go at least once every six months. But anyway, what was it like?
My appointment was for 1:30 PM and I arrived at 1:27 PM. I like to be punctual. The first thing I noticed was that the reception room was completely empty. This has never happened in all my years in England. I gave my name to the girl at reception and she asked me to take a seat.
I had the choice of sitting on a three seater black leather sofa or any one of the five comfortable looking cotton covered armchairs. I chose an armchair and decided to watch the goldfish swimming around in the fish tank on the counter rather than the television that was suspended from the ceiling on the right-hand side.
One minute after I arrived, so that’ll be 1:28 PM, another dental patient arrived who also had a 1:30 PM appointment. She too was asked to take a seat but had barely begun to get comfortable when she was called through by a dentist’s assistant.
Again, I was sitting there alone. I looked at my watch and it was 1:31 PM. I looked back at the goldfish. I checked my watch again; it was 1:32 PM. Back to the goldfish.
“BobinOz? Would you like to come through now?” (Well, she didn’t really call me BobinOz, that’s not my real name! But anyway…..) So before it had even got to 1:33 PM I had entered through the plush glass doors into a rather modern looking dental arena and I was sitting in the dentist’s chair.
This would definitely, never, ever happen in England. Appointments virtually running on time?
My dentist then went on to check my teeth and again, this was different. Back in England the checking procedure would involve some kind of coded discussion between the dentist and the assistant. Something like “H1, H2, H3, lambent, H4 squiffled, H5 bulbus, H6 and H7 sparklies, H8 through to H12, wibbley.” The assistant would, of course, take notes.
That didn’t happen here. As my dentist checked my teeth there was silence. About three or four minutes of it. Then she said “your teeth look fine, I can’t see any problems, so we’ll just do a cleanup today, shall we?”
And that’s what she did. I was soon out of the chair, back at the reception to settle my payment.
So how much did it cost Bob?
The official bill was for…
- Periodic Oral Examination: $45
- Removal of Calculus (cleaning): $86
- Topical Fluoride (don’t know what that does, but I had to grip some blue gunge in my teeth): $25
- Total Bill: $156
But I didn’t pay $156.
As a family, we have taken out additional private health insurance. We use a company called Medibank Private Limited. We pay $73.60 per month for me, my wife and my daughter, all in. So I presented my Medibank card and my bill was reduced to……
- Total Bill: $0
I have the same treatment twice a year. My wife and Elizabeth both went together and their combined bill was $273.00. Again, they have two treatments a year and Medibank pay it all.
Also, a short while ago, my wife needed reading glasses and got two pairs for $200 plus an $80 examination fee. But she didn’t pay $280, she paid $30. Medibank paid the other $250. I am entitled to the same and I am due new glasses; still using my Specsavers pair from the UK, circa 2006.
So some simple maths. $156 + $156 + $273 + $273 + $250 + $250 – $883.20 (That’s 12x$73.60) = MINUS $474.80. Get what I’m saying here?
Yes, Medibank are paying out far more than they are getting. And we also have cover for additional major dental treatment, physiotherapy, chiropractic, podiatry, psychology, hearing aids and blood glucose monitors, if, of course, we need it. We are hoping not!
So how can that work? I decided to look harder into my policy……
And I still don’t know. Even taking in to account the Federal Government rebate of 30%, it still doesn’t make sense. Maybe one day I’ll find out, like when my premium doubles. But for now, I like it!
By 1:57 PM I was back sitting in my car and driving home from the dentists.