As independent contractors, drivers are on their own for medical and dental insurance. What happens if you need a costly dental procedure? Senior RSG contributor Jay Cradeur has a solution for drivers interested in saving money.
As a hard-working member of the 1.5 million rideshare drivers who work as independent contractors in the United States, I have a solution to share with you. A solution to what, you may be asking? Well, as you can tell from the title, it is a solution for a cracked tooth and any other dental or medical care you may need.
As an independent contractor, we need to handle our medical and dental needs. We don’t have a company providing medical and dental. It’s on us! This can be a bit disconcerting. Medical and dental can be rather expensive.
For many, a major medical crisis can lead to a serious financial crisis. According to a CNBC report, medical bills are the biggest source of bankruptcies in the United States. Even if you have insurance, a medical crisis can bankrupt you, especially here in the United States. So what is one solution? Medical and Dental Tourism.
What is Dental Tourism?
Dental tourism is what thousands of Americans are doing to keep their dental costs low. Dental tourism is traveling to a foreign country to get your dental needs met at a significantly lower cost than you would find here in the United States.
It is no secret that both medical and dental costs in the USA are extremely high relative to most other countries. I recently engaged in Dental tourism and will share with you all the details in case you have an emergency and want to save some money and visit a beautiful country at the same time.
The Catalyst for My Dental Tourism Excursion
Two weeks ago, I was eating some yogurt with a few almonds sprinkled on top. I then had that terrible feeling of biting into something that felt like a rock. My first reaction was to feel the inside of my teeth with my tongue.
There on the left bottom was a new gaping hole, the second molar from the back. It was half gone, and the silver filling was also loose and falling out. Fortunately, I did not feel any pain. I brushed my teeth to get all the remaining loose bits out of my mouth. Then I came up with a plan.
Did You See The Movie “Roma?”
I loved the movie Roma when I watched it in January and decided I would go to Mexico City this year. Now, with my broken tooth, I had a reason to go.
The first thing I did was to go online and do a Google search for “dental tourism Mexico City.” I found plenty of information. In one post, a man highly recommended a dentist office called Ideal Dental Center in Mexico City. I found their website, an email address and sent the following email.
Two hours later, on a Sunday, I received a response:
Booking The Trip
I use a website called Skyscanner for all my airline research. I found a trip on United Airlines that could leave on Tuesday and return on Thursday, non stop SFO to Mexico City for $420.
Next, I looked at the Airbnb website to find a room for the two nights I would be in Mexico City. I looked for a room in the area of Mexico City called Centro (Center). It was centrally located and near a tourist location called the Zocalo. I found an apartment for $60 per night ($120 Total) in a building with a doorman two blocks from the Zocalo.
Off To Mexico City
With all my plans made, I headed to the San Francisco Airport Tuesday morning. The flight was pleasantly uneventful and on-time. I arrived and grabbed an Uber.
Did you know that a 30-minute drive from the airport to my apartment was only $5? Everything in Mexico City is very affordable. The people are very friendly, the food is always delicious, and the weather was warm, topping out at 80 degrees.
The view from my apartment.
My Dental Appointment
I took a $3 Uber to the dentist. It was easy to locate the building:
I filled out the medical questionnaire, had my teeth x-rayed, and then met Dr. Guillermo. He spoke excellent English and asked me a few more questions.
Fortunately, my tooth was only broken so no root canal was necessary. I got shot up with novocaine and then Dr. Guillermo prepared my tooth, removing decay and sanding it down.
Dr. Guillermo and Dr. Gabriella. My Dentists.
Instead of putting a crown over the entire tooth, he left the remaining half of the tooth intact and created a piece to replace the missing part.
Modern dentistry is amazing. He scanned my tooth with an imaging device and then used a 3-D printer to make a porcelain replacement. Then with some glue and a laser, he put the new piece in and that was that.
I was in the chair for 4 hours. Done.
Here in San Francisco, x-rays, a crown, and new filling would cost in the range of $2,500 – $3,000. Let’s compare that to my out of pocket costs
The best part of dental tourism is the tourism part. I got to see Mexico City, and I got to eat the food.
Tacos are better in Mexico!
I was able to experience a new and unique culture.
Medical and Dental tourism is alive and well in many countries. Men and women fly off to Thailand to get butt lifts, facelifts, and veneers. You can go for a month, have a procedure, heal, enjoy Thailand and return to the US having spent a fraction of what the same procedure would have cost in the US.
Many of the doctors and dentists in other countries were trained here in the US and/or in Europe. Many Americans have a bias for US doctors and dentists, but other countries are doing the same procedures and charging far less than you would be charged here in the US.
Dental tourism may be something you as a rideshare driver can embrace. For others, it may seem like a crazy idea. I hope this article has quelled your fears and demonstrated to you how relatively easy it is to make happen. And now you also have a personal recommendation for a fine dentist in Mexico City.
If something terrible happens to your teeth here in the US and you want to save some money, now you have an option. It is always good to have options, especially one that has you on a plane to Mexico City. Have a great day, smile and show your teeth, and be safe out there.
Readers, if you’re a full-time driver, what do you do for medical and dental coverage? Would you try medical or dental tourism?
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-Jay @ RSG
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