Are Dental Insurance Plans Worth the Money?

I went to the dentist this morning.  Before I went, I made sure to check our current dental insurance information on our company’s human resources website. It’s a good thing I did because it had changed from last year.  While I was logged onto the site, I printed out the dental insurance information.  The cost printed out along with the explanation of benefits.  For a whole year of dental insurance that covers myself and husband, we pay $402.24.  It’s only $15 a paycheck, but I really started to wonder if it’s worth having dental insurance any more.  Neither myself or my husband have been to the dentist at all this year (bad, I know!).  So we’re pretty much not using the insurance at all.

Our open enrollment period is coming up soon, and I’m wondering if I should just go ahead and drop the dental insurance.  I do think it’s very important to have your teeth cleaned every six months (and our insurance pays for that 100%) but if we don’t do it, then we’re wasting $402.24.  I don’t think that an exam and cleaning cost $200 (which is what our insurance is worth if we each went to the dentist once a year for a cleaning.)  If an exam and cleaning is, say, $80, it may be worth it to just drop our dental insurance and self insure.  I can save $160 a year to pay for dental expenses.

Of course, if we have cavities that need to be filled, or a crown replaced then it is worth it to have dental insurance, even though we have to pay for half of those procedures out of pocket.  I know that over the course of time that we’ve been going to this dentist, I’ve had a few cavities filled and a crown put on.  Eventually, I’ll have to have that crown replaced (which I just found out today that they only last 10-15 years).  It would be nice to have dental insurance then to cover those items.

Dental insurance is one of those things that I think that we could live without.  I’d be willing to take a chance that we’d need to have a cavity filled and have to pay out of pocket.  Teeth don’t generally have the potential to cost you thousands of dollars each year versus, say cancer, so I’d be more likely to pay for health insurance versus dental insurance.

I don’t know if dental insurance is a normal benefit offered to employees, but I am grateful that I have the option to take advantage of it.  Chances are, I’ll get on Mr. Money to make sure that he makes an appointment to get his teeth cleaned and examined so that at least he’ll take advantage of one of the two cleanings covered by our insurance this year.  I hate wasting money, and I feel like I should have gotten a cleaning 6 months ago to make our dental insurance worth it.

I have a love-hate relationship with insurance.  It’s a necessity for some things (car insurance, homeowners insurance, health insurance) but sometimes I wish there were easier options.

Do you have dental insurance? Do you think I should get dental insurance for next year, or skip it and self insure?


Natural Allergy Remedies: Natural Remedies for Hay Fever

This fall is turning out to be horrible for my allergies! I’ve suffered from headaches, a stuffy nose, itchy eyes, and a scratchy throat.  We live in one of the worst places to live if you have allergies.  I am so ready to move! Unfortunately, it seems like everyone I talk to is suffering (or knows someone who is) from bad allergies this year.

Rather than toss back Claritin, I’ve tried to find some natural allergy remedies.  What’s nice about natural allergy remedies is that instead of masking the symptoms, you are actually treating the causes of the allergies.

Natural Allergy Remedies

1. Local honey.  Local honey works as a natural allergy remedy because it introduces pollen into your body naturally.  It’s best if it’s super local because then you know you are getting your system introduced to local pollen and allergens.  When your body ingests small amounts of pollen, your natural defenses are stimulated, which helps your body naturally fight.  Not only does honey work well for allergies, it also tastes great!

2. Neti Pots. Neti Pots (which look like a genie’s lamp) work by flushing everything out of your sinuses.  All of the allergens are rinsed away by a saline solution.  Figuring out how to use a neti pot is probably the most difficult part.  Once you get the hang of how to use a neti pot, you’ll be glad you did!

3. Quercetin . Quercitin is naturally found in the skin of apples and red onions. It is a powerful anti oxidant, natural anti histamine, and anti inflammatory.Quercetin can also help with fatigue, depression, and anxiety.  If you want to try using quercetin for allergies, you can try eating more apples and raw red onions or you can take a supplement of quercetin.

4. Stinging Nettles. Stinging nettles grow naturally as weeds in many areas. Stinging nettles work best to help allergies when you make a strong infusion of tea. You can buy stinging nettles in bulk in many health food stores. To make stinging nettle tea, take boiling water and pour it over a tablespoon of nettles. Let the tea set overnight to release all the benefits of the nettles. You can drink the nettle tea either hot or cold. Sweeten with honey and you’ve got double the allergy-fighting benefits!

5. Acupuncture.  Acupuncture can be used to help treat many different conditions from allergies to anxiety.  An acupuncturist treats symptoms by setting tiny needles in meridians in the body and opening up the energy flow.  Acupuncture can be very beneficial for all kinds of different symptoms, so when you have an acupuncture treatment, you may get more than you bargained for! You may be treated for other issues that you hadn’t planned on!

Allergies can be frustrating, but when you deal with allergies using natural allergy remedies, you’re doing your body a favor by not loading it with drugs.  Natural remedies are good for your body, your health, and even the environment!  If you’re suffering from seasonal allergies, give these tips a try, and be sure to let me know how they work for you!

Have you used natural allergy remedies?  How do you deal with seasonal allergies?


Save Money- Buy your Prescription Drugs at Costco!

One of my family members let me in on a little secret the other day.  Anyone can go into Costco and purchase prescription drugs because prescription drugs are a federally regulated substance.  If you aren’t a member and can’t go in with one, just tell the person at the door that you wish to use Costco’s pharmacy and they will allow you to go in.  Why should you buy prescription drugs at Costco?  You’ll save tons of cash.

Prescription drugs are one the most profitable industries.  My husband is a chef at an upscale restaurant, and drug reps are always buying meals to take to doctors’ offices.  I think it’s kind of backwards because they are wanting to brainwash doctors into giving their patients their drugs.  Think about it: you also see tons of commercials on tv for various prescription drugs (Viagra, anyone?).  Why should a patient have to see commercials? Aren’t doctors supposed to make those decisions for us?  Anyway, it’s hard to avoid the advertising, and if you are in need of prescription drugs, the least you can do is make sure you are paying the least amount possible for your prescriptions.

Save Money on Prescription Drugs

-Buy generic.  Obviously, the easiest way to save money on prescriptions is to go with a generic.  Generics are the same formula as name brand drugs but cost much less because they don’t have to pay huge bucks on advertising.  Even if you don’t have health insurance, you can still save money by buying generics.

-Get your pets’ prescriptions at Costco.  My neighbor is a pediatrician and has her veterinarian write all her dogs’ prescriptions for Costco.  I haven’t done it personally, but I’ve heard great things about it.

-Fill your prescriptions at Costco.  When comparing prescription drug costs, Costco beat out every pharmacy hands down.  You can go to Costco’s website and search for the price of any drug so you can compare yourself.  Using the drug Compazine, which helps prevent nausea in chemo patients, costs $54.99 for 60 pills at CVS.  100 pills at Costco are $19.89!  Unbelievable!

Prescription drug markup

Prescription drugs are grossly marked up. Here are a few examples of the cost to manufacture certain drugs versus the consumer’s cost:

Claritin: 10 mg
Consumer Price (100 tablets): $215.17
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.71
Percent markup: 30,306%

Prevacid: 30 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $44.77
Cost of general active ingredients: $1.01
Percent markup: 34,136%

Prozac: 20 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets) : $247.47
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.11
Percent markup: 224,973%

Tenormin: 50 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets): $104.47
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.13
Percent markup: 80,362%

Xanax: 1 mg
Consumer price (100 tablets) : $136.79
Cost of general active ingredients: $0.024
Percent markup: 569,958%

Isn’t that unbelievable?  While I believe the majority of diseases can be treated with diet, I also realize that there are many conditions that people have to take prescription drugs for.  Being an informed consumer can help you save money and live better.  If you need to buy prescription drugs, make sure you check Costco’s pharmacy first, even if you are not a member.  It can’t hurt to check!

Where do you buy your prescription drugs?  Do you always use a pharmacy?

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