Here is a tale of two medical experiences in the UK.
Yesterday I went to the dentist. I had an exam a few weeks back and had a (pain-free) broken filling. It was to be filled in April after my trip to the states, but unfortunately the volcanic ash caused a reschedule. Yesterday I went in, was numbed up (without pain – go dentist!) and when he got in there realized I needed a root canal. Awesome. I was already numb, so he went ahead with the first part. Get to finish it next week, then have a filling put on top. The first bit only cost £38 (about $56 depending on the exchange rate), and the rest should be less than £100. Of course time will tell if the work is good, but he’s a private (not NHS) dentist on campus, so I’m thinking it will be okay.
As you may recall I’m still unable to get health insurance in the US beyond COBRA due to some irregular tests I had in 2008-2009. In October I had a regular test, so I need one more six month later to qualify for health insurance in the US, as the reform bill provisions don’t kick in for me until 2014. I went in today and the UK guidelines are only once a year for people like me, so they couldn’t give me the test. I now need to consider finding a private doctor, pay to have the test done so that I can get cheaper health insurance in the US, even though I think they’ll probably try to deny me coverage again because of too many ear infections or cases of bronchitis. So the question is – do I wait until I’m back in Seattle and deal with it then, or pay for a private test in the UK?