Really need jaw surgery, but how can I afford it in Maryland

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Really need jaw surgery, but how can I afford it in Maryland

#1 Post by amanda1266 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:38 pm

Hello all,

I am really depressed and I'm not sure what to do. I got braces back in 2006. My plan was to have double jaw surgery and genio to correct a severe overbite. Well with the economy, I lost my job, and I couldn't afford to go further with it. My boyfriend assured me that I look fine and so at the end of last year I got my braces off and figured I would just deal with the way I look. Well here it is, 3 months later and I am so depressed with the way I look. I have a huge overbite, very gummy smile, and when I smile it's very crooked. I pretty much have no chin. I am soooo self conscious, I literally have zero self esteem. I am 29 years old, unemployed and I want to go to nursing school but I am so worried about the way I look. It has made me be extremely shy. I am fortunate that I have insurance through my boyfriends employment. It is Aetna. I have read that they will cover the surgery but all of the surgeons want their fee's upfront. I don't think I could even get a loan, as I am currently unemployed and I have debt piling up, my credit is not good. I hope to find a job really soon.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone has ideas on how I could have this surgery. Are there any surgeons around the Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware or New Jersey area that do not require the whole fee up front?

Thank you so much for reading.

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#2 Post by ztm134 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:19 pm

Hi Amanda,

I'm sorry to hear how your overbite has impacted your life! I'm not sure that I can help, but I haven't heard any of the 3 surgeons that I consulted with indicate that they want to whole fee up front. Is this unique to Aetna, where they reimburse you down the road?

I know that my surgery planned for the spring is being covered by my insurance and it requires no payment on my part (except the braces part).

Perhaps your boyfriend or a parent would be willing to cosign on a CareCredit loan with you if you do end up having to cover the cost upfront?

Good luck!

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#3 Post by amanda1266 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:39 pm

Thank you for the reply. For the consultations that you had, did you have to pay for that consult? I have called a few surgeons and they want a couple hundred just to talk with me. Maybe I should wait a few years until I am better off financially, ugh!

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#4 Post by ztm134 » Tue Feb 16, 2010 3:49 pm

I ended up paying $80 to one of the oral surgeons that I went to see, only because I made the appointment on my own. That is, I didn't get a referral through an orthodontist. I probably could have gotten my insurance company to cover the $80, but they had JUST approved my $35,000 surgery and when I got the bill in the mail so I figured I would eat the $80. :lol:

If you go to a new orthodontist (and they almost always give free consults, I only found one that wanted to charge me), describe your concerns, and have him put you in contact with an oral surgeon, I think that you can get a consultation for a nominal charge.

I initially went to my ortho in Oct for a consult, he told me I would need surgery, put me in contact with my OS, and then I went to see the OS a couple of weeks later. I did have to pay my $20 copay for this visit...perhaps I would have had to pay the full fee (~$250) if the insurance coverage was denied after this initial consultation when he submitted his diagnosis to my insurer.

I think the best thing for you would be to go on, read some reviews of orthodontists in your area, and then visit one for free consult. Unless this whole "Paying up front" business is a quirk in Aetna, I think you might be surprised what you find.

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#5 Post by HokieTay » Tue Feb 16, 2010 5:36 pm

No, paying up front is not unique to Aetna. Many surgeons who practice jaw surgery these days request all or 50% up front. I understand your frustration as I didn't get my surgery with the surgeon my orthodontist recommended because they required 50% up front, which was like $8500. Not ridiculous, but it was a lot to me at 24 years old then. I went to another surgeon, which the whole financial thing did not work out to my benefit in the end b/c the weren't totally upfront with me, but anyhow I only put down like $3000 initially.

Where in Maryland are you located? You could check with University of Maryland. I know some people that have gotten their braces really cheap there so you could check into that and see what they could recommend as far as a surgeon who will work with your financial situation.
Braces first time 12/96-11/99
Braces second time 12/08-10/09
BSSO & Le Fort I 6/15!
Unwired, in elastics, and on soft foods 6/26!!!
Orthodontic elastics 7/21-8/11
Braces off... OCTOBER 2ND, 2009!

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland

I'm in Baltimore

#6 Post by vonjo27 » Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:27 pm

Crazy coincidence!! I'm 24, male w/underbite awaiting surgery living in B-more (also pursuing a career in Nursing). I'm seeing a surgeon @ the University of Maryland (downtown Bmore)- Dr. Caccamese. I've also had concerns about my insurance covering it, and I was told today that it shouldn't be a problem. I'm insured by CareFirst Blue Choice. It excludes coverage for solely fixing a malocclusion, but covers orthognathic surgery if deemed medically necessary- such as my case. I made it a point to explain that in no way was I concerned w/ the cosmetic aspect of the procedure- only in the functionality of my jaw- even though the truth is that yes, I want to look good too. I'm very self-conscious as well, but the insurance companies don't want to hear that. The only know that I have breathing problems, chewing problems, sleeping problems, headaches, etc.
However, if in no way you can get in covered by insurance here, consider "dental tourism" in other countries, namely Costa Rica. I've done plenty of research and have found some great, AAOMS certified surgeons that perform orthognathic surgery for much less. It might sound crazy/ridiculous, but you would be very surprised to know how many Americans have their surgery done in other countries. Check out Dr. Oscar Reiche ... or_reiche/

He's the ONLY one I've found in Costa Rica whose credentials are what they say they are. He's American educated and is an active member of the AAOMS- American Academy of Oral and Maxiofacial Surgeons. His fee is a bit high- about 15k (double of other surgeons in the area), but it includes everything from the surgery to the 2 week stay at a surgery retreat/ recovery spa, nurse care, follow-ups, meals, transportation, etc. If it wasn't for my insurance covering it, that would definitely be my route.
Dr. Andres Fernandez's fee is about $7,500 - another surgeon in Costa Rica.
Check it out.
Good luck- wish me luck too! My insurance could drop me at the last minute.

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#7 Post by kikiaj1029 » Fri Mar 05, 2010 9:33 pm

I am also 24 years old female w/ minor underbite and I am also living in B-more! I was thinking about to start having plan for my surgery.

Is your case severe under-bite?
What was the total cost that you had to pay?
How long did it take you to have surgery?

omg, I have so many questions to ask you.
Is there anyway I can get your email address or something?

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#8 Post by lealicious » Fri Mar 05, 2010 10:12 pm

How about you or your boyfriend take out a personal loan? You'll have to pay interest of course, but at least you can choose how long to pay the loan off. I'm in Australia and have to save up for my surgery, which will happen in over a year I believe. And I was planning on taking out a loan if I haven't saved enough by then.
10/03/10 - Upper braces
11/05/10 - First adjustment

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#9 Post by vonjo27 » Wed Mar 10, 2010 12:46 am

Saving could take forever. My advice is to invest in some good health insurance, and then work w/ your OS, dentist, pcp, and orthodontist in having the surgery deemed medically necessary. Spend what you saved on getting your teeth whitened after your braces are taken off- things insurance companies don't pay for. :)

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#10 Post by scguy85 » Sun Mar 14, 2010 4:42 pm

Vonjo - you have no idea what you are talking about. Why are you giving reccomendations about surgeons you haven't even met or experienced first-hand?

I went to Costa Rica to have surgery with Dr. Reiche and my whole process has been a nightmare.

Don't reccomend surgeons that you haven't even dealt with.

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Location: Baltimore, Maryland

#11 Post by vonjo27 » Mon Mar 22, 2010 9:08 pm

I simply said "check it out". I'm sorry you've had a bad experience with Dr. Reiche, but I know a few people who have had wonderful experiences with him. Furthermore, nobody in their right mind would make such a big decision without doing their own research first. I'm simply opening the door for other options. Don't be so sore because YOU had a bad experience. Dr. Reiche is obviously doing something right, because many of us know of him and his work.

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