Thursday, January 23, 2014

What’s wrong with this picture

Late last summer, before school began, I drug all three children through an optical exam. They are on their dad’s health insurance; I found a participating optometrist and scheduled them in.

Laura and Hamilton have worn glasses since forever, Emily never. So it remained, with prescription changes for Laura and Hamilton. The exam cost me only the deductible, and I was grateful for that after they picked out new frames. They cost as much as grown up frames!

Once I was used to their stylish new nerdy looks, I even came to like the new specs.

Imagine our surprise; Hamilton’s frame gratuitously broke the other night. Sitting at the table doing homework and pop, there went the frame.

I took the glasses back to the optometrist shop yesterday to see what they could do. Gone. I called. No answer, no answering machine. We figure the lease ran out December 31st.

Like the fake dental insurance for the fake dental visit to AspenDental in December, where the appointment I did not schedule included a cursory exam, no cavities found, and a reschedule for three cleanings. We blew that popsicle joint, fast. But this one left on us.

I was able to schedule a dental visit for all three for one of those cancelled school days the beginning of this month. Dr. Bob’s schedule had big holes when I called; cancellations because it was below zero, so come on down. Three hours and three exams and six hundred real dollars later we had two clean bills of teeth and one cavity filled in Laura’s mouth.

Dr. Bob came out to explain it to me and I said to please tell me it was from three months of not brushing. Everyone is so PC now; oh, no, it was at the gum line, not necessarily… He went back with instructions to tell Laura it was from not brushing.

So, what is the relationship between a six hundred dollar trip to a dentist who does not take your son-in-law’s insurance and expensive, but broken frames from the only optometrist in a fifty mile radius who did? Someone is making a lota money in this country, and their name starts with insurance and ends with industry.

Hamilton needs glasses, so tomorrow we will go cross town to my optometrist shop to see if these stylish lenses can be popped into another au courant frame. While we’re there I’ll have them read the lens (no, we did not leave the other place with prescriptions! Was that the first indication of trouble in River City?) and make a second pair. Although, a certain cavity in mind, perhaps I need to be hanged for a sheep as a lamb and schedule an eye exam with my ophthalmologist.


  1. I could not find an honest dentist covered by my plan, so I'm back to my old dentist who I can trust but my pocketbook hurts.

    I don't know how some of these rip off artists sleep at night. I love that the dentist went back with instructions to say the cavity was from not brushing!

  2. I'm always skeptical of the optometrist. Over $500 for my last pair of glasses from 4 years ago. With dentists, I'm beyond skepticism - $5000 for a root canal! That's insane.

    1. HOW MUCH for a root canal???
      I thought $800-900 was way too much, but I pay up because the relief from pain is so worth it.

  3. You got that right missy. As my father in law used to say, it's a racket.

  4. I'm happy to say I like my dentist, but the last time I bought new glasses, about 5 years ago, they were more than $400 and nothing was covered by insurance.


  5. It takes a degree these days to deal with the ins and outs of insurance, deductibles and what you really need. A lot of these scheisters sure know how to make $$.

  6. The costs are astronomical. It's crazy.

  7. This is just awful. Why does that sort of thing happen in your area???

  8. That's an odd thing for a pair of frames to do. I would have put a tiny dab of superglue to hold it together, then popped the lens back in when it was dry. But after that of course, get a new frame because they're clearly substandard.
    I always have trouble with my lenses not fitting properly in the frame, the bifocals are never straight and even from one side to the other. I get them adjusted again and again to the point where I can make do, but uneven doesn't make for easy vision.

  9. Hari Om
    Firstly - I don't do dentists; seriously bad childhood experience means they are persons of extremely desperate measures on my part...

    Secondly - insurance has ever been the con-market. Okay i accept home cover is a must. Anything for my body and its bits? B***** off... (then again, I have been fortunate to live in two countries where the public system, for all their flaws, has served me well).

    Thirdly - My eyes deteriorated to badly in India that I was forced to go and have test and buy glasses there. I was thrilled!! I had a thoroughly professional assessment and the costs of specs there was a fraction of what I was used to in OZ. I went back again a year later - just before having to leave - to purchase two more pairs. As I had now graduated to bifocals this was well worth the doing. I now have four pairs for what would amount to around $200. Yup. TOTAL.

    Mind you, to fly to Mumbai just for glasses would make them pretty darned expensive, but am hoping the prescription holds out till my next visit there - in a couple of years! (I can hear the asking - well each pair is different prex depending on task...) So I am astounded to read this Joanne - because it is not just that you have been 'sharked' but have had to expend time and effort finding and getting to another place. For reassurance though - your eye test will taking place in hospital I presume, so that at least should keep things more above board and, dare I say it, transparent. YAM xx

  10. I have spent a fortune on dentists and optometrists! My last pair of glasses were 400 pounds($600, but included a second pair with exactly the same prescription -- so I was able to have sunglasses as well. Since my cataract operation, paid for by the National Health Service, I now only need reading glasses, which I very happily buy over-the-counter! We are fortunate to have been able to find an NHS dentist, but still have to pay -- it's about $100 for a course of treatment. Children don't have to pay for the dentist or for glasses.

    My understanding is that the optometrist or some on his/her staff can tell the prescription by looking at the lense through whatever the machine is called that they look at the lense with!

  11. Prices continue to rise here for both dental and optometrist services. At least now that we are seniors our eye exams are covered under government insurance.

  12. Didn't you just have cataract surgery? If you have Medicare, check to see if your new glasses are at least partially covered under your plan. I think they paid a whopping $20 or so for mine... but, hey... every cent counts!

  13. Is there anyone you work with,or parents of the childrens' friends who could recommend someone, other than a rip off merchant, to you? We have the Better Business Bureau who keeps tabs on these guys..we can find out who is honest from them.
    Jane x

  14. It's so sad that we have to be on guard everywhere we do business today. There are cheats and shysters all over the place!

  15. insurance, in my opinion, is a glorified protection racket.

  16. I don't have much love for health insurance companies. For what they charge for frames I expect them to last many many years.

  17. I always get sucked into the fab sales they have on eyeglasses only to find that I'm still shelling out hundreds for the lenses, the exams etc. Sigh.

  18. I never sign up for dental insurance through work since the premiums seem so much high for what coverage they offer. I do sign up every 2 years for the vision insurance. You can get a pair of glasses every 2 years on the plan so that's why I sign up every 2 years. Why pay for insurance for a year where I can't get any services (and right now my eyes are okay to go every other year without an exam).

    Insurance is a good thing and a bad thing. Its like when you go to the auto shop to get the oil change and they always find something else that needs to be done and try to up sell you. Wonder if some health care providers do the same when insurance is involved.


  19. Husband needed prescription glasses a few months ago ( he'd been wearing mine ! ) He bought bendy frames which are supposed to be less likely to snap; guess what ? they've been back for repair three times !

  20. Have you considered Sam's Club or Costco for glasses? I'm not sure of the optical policy for Costco in your area. It might be only for the card holder, but Sam's Club is for the whole family and cheaper than on the outside.... at least from what I've seen here.