Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Negotiating Gumptionista

You’ve heard the saying that everything is negotiable. I didn’t always think that was true, and I did push the envelope several times just to prove myself wrong, and I was wrong. I have negotiated my medical bills, rent, cable bill, car lease, etc. Ya name it, I’ve negotiated it!

In these economic times, more than ever, it is important to keep pushing the envelope. It never hurts to ask, and if it’s a no, it’s a no, but you have to try. I was recently at my dentist’s office and I overheard his assistant telling another office assistant that I was the only person she had ever met that had gotten a veneer paid for. I had completely forgotten about that story.

A few years ago, I had a tooth that kept breaking. Every few weeks it would break, I would visit my dentist, and he would glue it back on. On more than one occasion, he told me that I should get a veneer, but I was stubborn and didn’t want to pay for it. I knew that the insurance company would not cover the veneer, because veneers are always considered cosmetic, for any reason. They would, however, continue to pay for the tooth repair.

The last gluing came on Valentine’s weekend, 2005. It was the first Valentine’s day that I was actually happy to be alone and dateless. It was a Saturday night, and I was at home eating dinner. My tooth fell into my hand, and completely broke off this time. I called my dentist on his cell phone to tell him that I was, again, a toothless wonder. He was willing to leave his dinner, but I told him it could wait until the morning. I finally gave in to the veneer! It was $900! As I was writing the check, I told him that I would be submitting it to my insurance company just to see if they would cover anything. He said, “in all the years I’ve been doing this, I have never seen them cover veneers.” I reminded him who he was talking to.

I called the dental insurance company on Monday, and explained the situation. I said, “I have been getting my tooth glued back on every other month, which you have been covering. I decided to save you money and me, time, and get the veneer. I would like you to cover at least half of it.” The woman explained that veneers were not covered, but to send the claim in anyway. About a month later, I received a call from my dentist’s office indicating that they had received a check for $500 from the insurance company. I laughed to myself…I wasn’t even going to try this, because I didn’t think it would go through. Wouldn’t I have kicked myself if I hadn’t tried! Do not believe everything you hear. You just never know!