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A dentist appointment at 7 a.m. is a hard appointment to keep. First of all, you have to wake up really early and prep yourself for your visit. You have to spend some extra time brushing, flossing, and rinsing your teeth, at least I do (I really should do this on a daily basis, but I’ll admit, I’m a sporadic flosser). On top of that, you really don’t have time for a cup of java or even breakfast. (I don’t really eat breakfast earlier than 7:30 so I wasn’t hungry when I was getting ready to leave however, after arriving at the dentist’s office, my stomach was rumbling like there was a storm brewing).

The first thing that I did when I arrived at the office was fill out paper work. This included some basic information, health background, last dental visit, and insurance information.

Trying to understand how insurance works in the US is a bit overwhelming. There are several different insurance providers with different insurance plans in place, and the procedures and paperwork involved is a bit different than what I am used to. For example, not all insurance plans cover dental visits (which seemed to be a given with extended health in Canada).  

Why did they need my Social Security Number? Why did they need to know the name and address of my insurance provider. Why do I have to show two different cards? Why did they photocopy my card? (It was a lot to handle at 7am).

I had to provide two different cards. One card was from my health insurance provider (I’m actually under B.B.’s insurance at his work–that was a whole other confusing mess where they back-charged my insurance starting from the day B.B. and I got married even though we applied for this insurance after my other insurance was coming to an end–I was basically double covered). The other was a Flex Card. The Flex Card is a new concept for me. From my understanding, B.B. sets a certain amount of money aside for health care costs (B.B. determines how much money is to be taken out of his paycheque and added to his Flex account). The Flex Card allows one to pay for medical items such as prescriptions, basic medical supplies such as eye drops, and deductibles not covered by insurance.

Extended health seemed pretty straight forward in Canada. When I went to my dentist in Vancouver, it was a simple process. I paid the whole balance and received a cheque in the mail for the reimbursed portion. To help process my claim quickly, the receptionist electronically sent my bill to my extended health insurer (an insurance company chosen by my employer). That was it. Insurance seemed so much more straight forward in Canada. I miss my B.C. Care card and Canada’s affordable universal health care.

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