I use this story to illustrate. I remember fighting for my life when diabetes first reared its ugly head. It's been almost 20 years, but at that time, my first indication that something wrong was loss of sight. I literally looked down at a menu in a restaurant one evening and NOTHING was there. No words. No images. I could see the menu in my hand but nothing else. I could not order. "I'll have the same" was all I could utter. I felt a tinge of heat go from my head to my toes. I was more afraid in that moment than I had ever been in my entire life.
The next day, I was in the doctor's office. After an 8-hour glucose test, it was confirmed that I had diabetes. At that time, not the kind where you could watch your diet and it be okay. This kind required meds and injections. So I learned how to shoot needles of insulin into my stomach so that I could live. I hated all the changes I had to make, but I wanted to live. Oddly enough, I felt better, so how could I argue with this twice daily horrible stick. With more extreme measures necessary, I had a gastric bypass, plus breast reduction and tummy tuck. All making me a better person. All, with the exception of the tummy tuck, was paid by insurance because the excess weight was comprising my life. All of these saved my life. My insurance coverage saved my life.
Would I have had these procedures without insurance? No and no. There would have been no way to tackle these without insurance. I suppose the first lesson is to do your best to have medical coverage; the second lesson, if that isn't an option, find one that can work for you. Do it by any means necessary.
Most insurance companies look at dental procedures as cosmetic and elective rather than routine or necessary. I have never understood that mentality, especially as I watched my mother shell out thousands of dollars in the course of my lifetime to attempt to save the teeth I would eventually lose. If dental insurance covered issues as extensively as medical insurance, I and thousands of others wouldn't find themselves in situations where they have to look elsewhere for care. Care and money would remain in local dental offices, making it easier and more convenient while supporting local dentists and their businesses.
Len carries the basic dental insurance at his work, the same coverage that most people in the United States carry. It covers preventative visits, cleaning, x-rays. NOT implants, crowns. It's cheap coverage and pays exactly what it should. But what do I do? I need more.
All that to say that I'm looking to save my life again. Although my quality of life is not comprised, its hard to do eat or smile. My self-esteem has taken a dive, and gumming my food is not an attractive attribute for anyone. As a travel writer, first impressions with sources make the difference between getting a story and losing one. As a photographer, my personal image portrays my self-worth to my clients and their ability to put their trust in me to capture beauty. I'm not on my game lately. I have to fix that for there lots more stories and images to capture. I have to fix me first.
With the population aging, health care (especially dental insurance which might cover implants, etc.) growing astronomically and travel becoming easy, why not look for options and answers. Medical tourism continues to be big business throughout the world - with countries like Costa Rica, Europe, Asia becoming destinations for procedures - people are finding alternatives when none are presented in the United States.
As we continue our journey, I hope to find more information for you. Education is a powerful thing. It takes us places you never imagined . . . namely, Costa Rica.