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Old 02-04-2015, 10:19 AM   #41
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So many helpful responses - I love this forum. Thank you all so much!

What do you all think of budgeting for health care and dental expenses together - perhaps using a built-up HSA for the healthcare max out of pocket and large unpredictable dental expenses part?

Here's what I am thinking.

Budget yearly for:
- dental cleanings and at least one crown
- healthcare premiums
- fully funding HSA every year to keep a "bucket" of money for large dental expenses and deductible/max OOP on healthcare plan

We currently have $16,500 in our HSA. Still need to put in 2014 and 2015 contributions, so that will add $13,300 for a total of $29,800 in our HSA by Jan 2016 - our date for when we hope hubby will semi-retire.

If I budget for funding the HSA every year (~$6650 as of now) that will keep our yearly budget at a very manageable number for our portfolio to have 100% success according to FIREcalc.

If I budget for funding max OOP for healthcare (at worst $12K if hubby makes too much money in semi-retirement and we can't get a subsidy) plus worst-case scenario for large dental expenses every year (? $10K), this makes our overall yearly budget very high - and would fail according to FIREcalc.

It doesn't seem realistic to expect we will have worst case scenarios for both medical and dental for every single year of our retirement for ~ 40 years. Does it make sense to keep a "bucket" of $ in your HSA to handle the worst case scenarios, assuming you are going to continually fund it every year?

Having a hard time wrapping my head around this. I want to plan for worst case scenario given my health history (breast cancer). At the same time, it seems like if I do that, we will have to wait many more years to have that much in our portfolio. And what if one of us croaks by the time we build up that much money? My sense of urgency to retire and enjoy life more before something happens to one of us is heightened since my diagnosis (BTW, clear bill of health for now - 3 years out). But that fear of recurrence and early death is always lingering there, and makes me want to make our retirement happen soon rather than later...

Should I start a new thread since I'm moving into health care questions? Or does a moderator want to retitle this thread as budgeting for dental and healthcare costs?
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(49, married; DH 53. I am fully retired as of 2015 (well ok, I still work part-time but only because I love the job and have complete freedom to call off if I want to travel with hubby for work), DH hopes to fully retire 2018 when he turns 55 to access 401K penalty-free...although he may decide to do part-time consulting)
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:29 AM   #42
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Should I start a new thread since I'm moving into health care questions? Or does a moderator want to retitle this thread as budgeting for dental and healthcare costs?
This is a very interesting and helpful thread just on dental. Budgeting health care costs can be just as useful, so why not start a new one just for that?
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:40 AM   #43
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As such, I will visit the dentist every 3-5 years in retirement for a checkup and clean or on condition if a notable dental issue arises. In the interim I will continue brushing twice daily and flossing weekly.
You are SO lucky. I've just had bad luck with my teeth since I was a kid. My siblings must have inherited a different body chemistry; my sister had her first filling in her 30s and my brother's teeth were perfect till he started driving and would pick up a big bag of candy (and eat it all) after his sports practices. Prevention has helped me a lot but I still entered adulthood with a mouthful of fillings, which in general weaken the structure of the tooth and leave you open to problems down the road.

Now, with the dental implants, they tell me I need cleanings 4X/year and I'm afraid NOT to follow that advice. Too much can go wrong with 4 prosthetic molars screwed into little titanium plates embedded in your jawbone.

OTOH, the rest of my body is supremely healthy so I'll stop complaining now.
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:49 AM   #44
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This is a very interesting and helpful thread just on dental. Budgeting health care costs can be just as useful, so why not start a new one just for that?
Will do! I will just cut and paste most of what I wrote - thanks!!!
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Old 02-04-2015, 01:30 PM   #45
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Another tip I like to pass on is that at "our age" it maybe beneficial to use prescription strength toothpaste to prevent/help with decay, which has 10 times more fluoride than retail toothpaste. You can only purchase them from a dentist office and you know it would be expensive (mine charges $36 per tube). But there are a few dentists that sell them on the internet for about 1/3 price, I bought Prevident 5000 Sensitive toothpast this way. I would be happy to share the info if I can in this post, but I am not sure if I can or should, but I will provide the link if you send me a message for now.

I like my dentist and use his service regularly, it's just I don't want to pay unnecessary high prices. I have no relationship with this dentist office on the internet :-)
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Old 02-04-2015, 03:37 PM   #46
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But there are a few dentists that sell them on the internet for about 1/3 price, I bought Prevident 5000 Sensitive toothpast this way. I would be happy to share the info if I can in this post, but I am not sure if I can or should, but I will provide the link if you send me a message for now.
[mod hat on] The main issue the forum administrators have with posting links is that they're relevant to the thread and the poster isn't spamming the board for profit. The last is highly frowned upon to put it mildly. So go ahead and post the link.[mod hat off]

I too just started a prescription for Prevident 5000 myself a couple of weeks ago. The dentist doesn't sell it, I went to a pharmacy and they had it.
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Old 02-04-2015, 04:14 PM   #47
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[mod hat on] The main issue the forum administrators have with posting links is that they're relevant to the thread and the poster isn't spamming the board for profit. The last is highly frowned upon to put it mildly. So go ahead and post the link.[mod hat off]
Thank you, understood.

Kamy Dental dentist in Bayville NJ 08721 and Manahawkin NJ 08050 24 hour emergency care cosmetic Veneers Inlay Bonding Dental Implants Bridges Crowns Teeth Whitening, The Art of E-commerce

No prescription needed.
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Old 02-04-2015, 04:54 PM   #48
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This thread is very eye opening as I had some emergency dental work done last year after cracking my bicuspid tooth down the middle in October. I pay $14 a month for a plan that covers 100% preventative and 80% restorative up to $2500/yr.
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Old 02-19-2015, 08:12 PM   #49
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One other possible option not discussed yet, which may make a dental plan reasonable if is your teeth are in bad shape and you don't mind joining a DHMO.

My sister is one who hasn't been to a dentist in a very long time. I got her signed up with a Human DHMO plan and brought her in today. She needs a lot of dental work and got a estimate of worked required, about $1700, but without the insurance, cost is about $5000. Her monthly premium is about $15. As long as she gets the work done by her PCD (primary care dentist) at the DHMO, there are no waiting periords, no claims to file, no annual maximums.

For her visit today (comprehensive exam, full set of x-rays), without the DHMO insurance, about $250. With, $10 for the office visit.
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:03 AM   #50
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This thread made me think of dental costs as its the first year without insurance.
So I emailed my dentist and asked how much he would charge for exam, cleaning, bitewing xrays.
I stated how we had no insurance and would pay cash.
It was $260

Then I phoned a dental office nearby that I had seen for the past few years.
They said they would charge $150 ea for new patients, and next time its $125

So we went local for a total of $300 on the credit card
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Old 02-20-2015, 07:31 AM   #51
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....My sister is one who hasn't been to a dentist in a very long time. I got her signed up with a Human DHMO plan ...
Yes, I suppose for her that is a better choice than the Animal DHMO plan....
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Old 02-20-2015, 09:40 AM   #52
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Yes, I suppose for her that is a better choice than the Animal DHMO plan....
Funny catch!

I read my post several times and didn't catch that. That happens after a long day.

If pet insurance had only $10 copays for exams and x-rays, that would be a great deal!
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Old 02-20-2015, 09:50 AM   #53
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Back in my college days I worked with a guy who had very bad teeth but couldn't afford to have them fixed. He had them all pulled by a veterinarian. While I was there (summer job) he was waiting for the swelling to subside so he could buy dentures. All I ever saw him eat was white bread with jelly, IIRC he needed to wait 6 months.
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Old 02-20-2015, 10:40 AM   #54
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Our dentist charges $99 for cleaning, X-rays and exam if you do not have insurance. He calls it the "coupon rate" but there is no coupon necessary.

I just had a Cerec crown done this week. The retail price (if you have insurance) is $929, but when I told him we didn't have insurance he charged this as a regular type crown at $529. He's a great dentist and everything he does is absolutely painless including the novocaine injections which really is the worst part. He has a technique where he squeezes your cheek where the nerve is and you don't feel the injection.
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Old 02-20-2015, 12:21 PM   #55
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Funny catch!

I read my post several times and didn't catch that. That happens after a long day.

If pet insurance had only $10 copays for exams and x-rays, that would be a great deal!
Sure would, one of ours needs an extraction and cleaning. The other just a cleaning.
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Old 02-20-2015, 03:11 PM   #56
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I actually spoke to my dentist about this since I like her and would prefer to stay put if possible after ER. She said private dental ins was rarely worth it (though it was through work) and suggested budgeting for it. Also like Sue J's dentist she has a plan for those that do not have insurance to keep long term customers like myself.

And she has pretty eyes so it dulls the pain for me
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Old 02-20-2015, 03:43 PM   #57
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Back in my college days I worked with a guy who had very bad teeth but couldn't afford to have them fixed. He had them all pulled by a veterinarian.
Hmm, that changes my LBYM dental equation. To explain, after years of paying to have X-rays, cleanings, fillings, root canals, and a half dozen or so crowns, I was surprised to find that having a tooth pulled was only around $250. So if one made a commitment to be extremely frugal with their dental care, worst case or max OOP (OOM?) would then be $8,000 (32*250), would it not? But if one were to utilize this alternative source of dental care, perhaps the max OOM oops, I mean OOP could be further reduced.
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Old 02-20-2015, 05:28 PM   #58
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Theseus, Google and utube are your friend(?) if you choose to go that route. I'd get lots of antibiotics, I'm no dentist(no advise here), but I bet the ADA probably has an opinion.

Think dental college, if you're lucky to have one in the area. Properly sterilized instruments, real anesthesia, antibiotics, and pain meds. Training and all that junk.
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Old 02-20-2015, 09:24 PM   #59
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Our dentist charges $99 for cleaning, X-rays and exam if you do not have insurance. He calls it the "coupon rate" but there is no coupon necessary.

I just had a Cerec crown done this week. The retail price (if you have insurance) is $929, but when I told him we didn't have insurance he charged this as a regular type crown at $529. He's a great dentist and everything he does is absolutely painless including the novocaine injections which really is the worst part. He has a technique where he squeezes your cheek where the nerve is and you don't feel the injection.
I asked my dentist about cash discounts when we lose dental coverage through DW's job. They have the same $99 plan for cleaning, x-rays and exam. They said it's for new patients but they would give it to us. $69 and $99 specials for cavities too (depending on complexity, and it could be more). There was something about we can't come in on a Saturday, but any weekday is fine.

Everything else comes with a 10% cash discount, and they have thrown in free fillings before (DD had 5 (!) cavities due to a birth defect and they only charged for 3 since a couple were small).
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Old 02-24-2015, 08:11 AM   #60
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Wow, that poster who pays $19 a month for 100% preventative and 80% restorative has a good plan. I wonder what company it is. I pay $12 a month with a Delta Dental PPO, and have 100% preventative and 50% routine dental (which means fillings only, no crowns). Max benefit per year is $1,000. Annual deductible $55. I like my dentist and asked the office about cash prices with no ins, and found them to be quite high. Exam and cleaning $133. Bitewing Xrays $50. No cash discount. So I'm paying $144 per year for the insurance. Hmmmm.... I guess it makes sense just to go without dental insurance in my case. I only have about one cavity every 3 or 4 years.
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