Are they kidding?

The youngest is getting braces on Monday. She seems very excited, which I find odd, as there’s nothing fun about braces.

I’ve suffered one glued to the back of my four front teeth for 35 years. I was one of the firstguinea pigs for permanent braces in Australia. My orthodontist saw the idea at a conference in the US and tested them on me.

I was his problem child – every time my retainer was removed, my teeth Chad Morgan-ed again. Hence the permanent solution. It still annoys my tongue and has made me feel very self-conscious during French moments over the years.

The youngest is blithely oblivious to the concept of forever. She’s too busy contemplating how to co-ordinate her braces with her wardrobe. She’s thinking she’ll go for blue bands if they’re available.

We made the appointment with the orthodontist eons ago, so I popped into the surgery yesterday to check the time we were due. As I was leaving, receptionist cheerfully said: “Don’t forget to bring $7000 with you on Monday!”

She wasn’t joking.

She was actually expecting me to bring the whole payment up front.

I stared at her for a long moment. Then I said: “I don’t have $7000.”

She looked quite startled, as if no one has ever had a problem with it before.

Who the freaking hell has $7000 just lying around?

The receptionist pondered my awkward financial situation, then admitted they could probably arrange a 12-month payment plan for me, but I’d still have to pony up 25% of the cost on Monday.

That’s $1750. Ouch.

Ouch, ouch, ouch!

I rang my ex and broke the bad news.

Fortunately, we have a positive co-parenting relationship where we can discuss that sort of stuff calmly, rationally and constructively.

We both agreed we’d been a bit head-in-the-sand about paying for braces. There had been a dull warning bell ringing in the back of our brains, but we’d ignored it.

I also told him that our private medical account details said we were only eligiible for a $250 rebate each year on orthodontics.

I could sense him going pale with horror at the other end of the phone. He immediately called the health fund, which clarified that it was a $100 rebate per year you’ve been in the fund – the youngest’s whole life – plus $250 a year, up to a maximum of $1500.

Still pretty pathetic if you ask me.

I have no idea why people bother being in private health funds when you only get $1500 of a $7000 bill back. It’s a joke …one I’m not laughing at.

That means my ex and I are up for around $2500 each for the youngest’s wonky teeth.


Coming hot on the heels of $1500+ for my unregistered car debacle and the $648 mistake I made on my tax return and I’m feeling pretty financially obliterated right now.

Single mum life is bloody challenging sometimes. This week has been a doozy on a few fronts. Oh, the things I can’t blog about!

Fingers crossed I win the lottery next week.

Song of the day: ABBA “Money, money, money”


3 thoughts on “Are they kidding?

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  1. I feel your pain! That receptionist… are they in denial about the reality of life for many people? I certainly don’t have $7000 lying around – and I don’t even have the 25% lying around either. They should state the payment plan option up front! As for the health funds… I have been tempted to quit and put money aside each month instead for future health emergencies… but I know I’d probably be too tempted to spend it. I’ve had the health fund message drummed in for so long, I’m too scared to quit. I know, it’s irrational.

    1. I have had this discussion with many people lately and they generally agree that paying for private health extras is a bit of a con

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