Jay’s Dental Appointment

This country continues to amaze us. It’s just so easy living here and most aspects of life are just so darned, well, efficient.

For example, Jay had his first dental appointment here this week. The dentist’s office is in our building so all he had to do was take the elevator down to the lobby and hang a left.

After filling out a very short form the receptionist asked for his national health insurance card. She entered its information in her computer and within five minutes he was in for his exam and cleaning. Naturally, in this high-tech country there was a flat-screen monitor in front of me as I sat in the chair. His dentist, who spoke excellent English, then used this small hand-held wand with a TV camera on the end of it to show him on the monitor, in vivid color detail, what was going on in his mouth. Then the hygienist did her thing, and he was on my way out and ready to pay his bill. The charge: $60. No billing, no calling to verify insurance, no hassle. So simple.

The dentist reports her cases daily to the national health insurance system, who then transfers money directly into her account. By the way, we don’t use checks in Korea. Everything is by electronic transfer. Oh, and for my next cleaning appointment, the dentist will send Jay an automatic text message on his cell phone.

Think about how much more efficient our own system would be with this kind of set-up. Dentists could eliminate at least one or possibly two front office people. There’s no billing since you either pay in cash or with your credit card. There’s no mailing cost, no calls back and forth to insurance companies and dentists are paid practically immediately for services. Makes sense to us.

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