A Personal Story: Access to and Quality of Care – Helen, Woodstock

Helen lives in Woodstock, Vermont. This is her story:

When I moved to Vermont 13 years ago, I was starting a new business as an independent consultant, and I wasn’t able to afford health insurance, much less dental insurance. I chose a dentist from the phone book and started to get yearly checkups and do whatever work needed to be done, as I had the money to do it. When I started to feel a dull, aching pain in my upper jaw around an area where I’d had a root canal prior to arriving in VT, I mentioned it to my new dentist. She didn’t see anything and ultimately made me feel that I was imagining the discomfort. The pain was beginning to affect my life – it was causing headaches and destroying my concentration. I decided to change dentists and learned that, indeed, I was not imagining my discomfort – I had an infection at the site of my former root canal. In addition, the work of my first dentist in VT had been incomplete and non-lasting. I now had over $10,000 of work to do to fix what she had done and to address the dental issues she had neglected to address. I didn’t have that kind of money. Luckily, my new dentist worked out a financial plan with me and I also learned that if I took care of all of the work within one year, I would not only have a happier, healthier mouth, I could also report the expense on my tax return and receive some tax relief. I saved and put some of the work on my credit card and was able, ultimately, to fix everything in that single year.

I feel fortunate to have made it through that time – much lighter in my pocket, but with my health in check. I have an increased confidence in my ability to gauge if something is “wrong” with me or not, and I made an important decision to make sure my health care professionals listen to me. If only I’d had dental insurance.

    Leave a Reply

    Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

    Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box