What would prompt a 56-year-old Anchorage, Alaska native to drive 3,700 miles for a dental visit?
According to an Associated Press story by Astrid Galvan, Mark Bolzern had 62,000 reasons:
“For Bolzern, seeing a dentist in Los Algodones meant a savings of up to $62,000. He was told the extensive dental work he needed — his teeth needed to be raised and he needed a crown on every molar — would cost $65,000 at a private dentist. He looked for lower rates, finding a dental school where the work was less expensive because it was performed by students. But it still cost $35,000. He paid $3,000 in (Los Algodones,) Mexico and has been back several times. …About 60 percent of Americans have dental insurance coverage, the highest it has been in decades. But even so, the nation’s older population has been largely left behind. Nearly 70 percent of seniors are not insured, according to a study compiled by Oral Health America. A major reason is because dental care is not covered by Medicare and many employers no longer offer post-retirement health benefits. What’s more, the Affordable Care Act allows enrollees to get dental coverage only if they purchase general health coverage first, which many seniors don’t need. At the same time, seniors often require the most costly dental work, like crowns, implants and false teeth.”
Learn why Dr. Matthew Messina, a practicing dentist and consumer adviser on behalf of the American Dental Association, suggests Americans who visit dentists in foreign countries should do a lot of research before they go: