Dental prostheses are often a lot less expensive here than in Germany. The reasons for that are mainly the lower wages, lower rents, and the smaller laboratory expenses for the manufacturing of crowns, bridges, inlays, etc. In all new EU member states, the standards of quality for prostheses
are comparable with those of old EU states, but this is also the case in Thailand, with resident European or American dentists there.
As the savings can easily amount to several thousand Euros, the vacation is included almost "free of charge". The total costs - vacation plus dental prosthesis - in Hungary, for example, can lie under the cost (own contribution) required in Germany for the prosthesis alone. If you're prepared to "sacrifice" a few vacation hours, you can take a huge burden off your finances.
But don't ever be lured by lump-sum percentages on the BEL II.
The BEL II is a list of inexpensive dental lab services, but which are not yet approved for subsidies by the compulsory health insurance. It includes only simple basic treatments. Neither gold, complete ceramic redressing, attachments, bolts, armatures, bridges, nor implants, inlays, plating or full ceramic (zirconium oxide) are included. All of these are entirely private services. You should inspect very critically providers who use such confusing ads.
To summarize, these are very important things to worry about, particularly when your health insurance company has to contribute.
This is my approach:
- Insurance companies subsidize your prosthesis only for ambulatory treatments inside the EU.
- Ask your home physician to draw up a cost projection and a treatment plan for you. This will cover all necessary stages of your planned treatment and is free of charge if it includes health insurance benefits. In the case of entirely private services, it will cost approx. 10 - 20 Euros.
Submit this cost projection to your health insurance company for approval, otherwise you may have problems with their contribution.
- Finally, send this cost projection and the treatment plan to several foreign dentists and ask for a list of their prices for your treatment. Compare the exact treatments administered and the materials used. In the case of extensive dental work, attach, when possible, up-to-date X-rays of your
teeth (for example, panoramic picture - you are entitled to have your X-rays released, you have to acknowledge receipt and give the pictures back to your dentist within 6 months). This makes it easier for the foreign dentist to assess your needs and prepare for the treatment. In addition, also ask
for a time schedule which incorporates all the necessary steps. (important for your vacation planning)
- Never do without acurate price comparisons. Request detailed information particularly here. For example, are also the surgeon's fee, anesthesia and X-rays included in the cost of an implant, or are these extra costs? What materials and from which manufacturer are being used? Is post-treatment necessary?
If yes, where does it take place? ... Before making a decision, you should always request an exact breakdown of all the costs involved, and you should read carefully the so-called fine print, because no less than your health and finances are at stake.
- The foreign cost projections should match German regulations and guidelines. Submit this second cost projection to your insurance company as well, and seek their advice. If necessary, ask the dentist to adjust his cost projection to the German norms and regulations. Generally, the health insurance
company will agree and will contribute to your treatment costs in the amount of the findings-oriented fixed subsidy (plus bonus according to your bonus record). In the best-case scenario, your contribution will be zero.
- The health insurance company can request an advance payment for the "supposedly" higher administrative costs. In addition, you will have to pay the 10-euro office tax.
- If your health insurance company refuses, don't give up. Refer to the decisions of the European Court of Justice - EuGH (Az: C-120/95, C-158/96 or C-385/99). According to these, every health insurance company must pay for all ambulant treatments received in foreign EU countries that it would have
paid for in Germany as well. Registering a complaint with the Ministry concerned, or threatening with a suit before the competent Social Court may also work wonders. (At first instance, this complaint is free of charge.)
- Once payment has been clarified, make an appointment for treatment.
- When necessary, treat oral infections or periodontosis before leaving, because a dental prosthesis cannot be implanted before these have healed.
- In Germany, you get a two-year warranty on dental prostheses. Foreign dentists offer up to 5-year warranties. In any case, request an equivalent written warranty of at least 2 years, according to German law.
- Request from your dentist an alloy-pass or a declaration of conformity for your dental prosthesis. This document describes with accuracy the composition of the material. To be on the safe side, request EC-approved materials. For implants, the document is called and implant-pass, which describes
brand, material and size. Only currently prevalent implants should be used. Be careful not to get a preprinted document on which the doctor checks the boxes more or less at random. The name and address of the dental lab should also be known to you.
- In order to avoid constant trips abroad, some foreign dentists have made agreements with German dentists that you can call on, free of charge, in case of emergency or for small touch-ups.
- Take enough money with you. Unlike in Germany, in foreign countries every dental treatment has to be paid for in cash on the spot. The partial reimbursement from your health insurance company will occur only later.
- A contribution by your health insurance company to the costs of treatments received in non-EU states is possible, for instance as part of a social-insurance agreement, but it is not mandatory.
- You do not need an authorisation from your insurance company to get treatment in the foreign countries of the EU, if this occurs on an ambulatory basis. Decision of the European Court of Justice - EuGH
- The compulsory insurance companies pay for inlays, implants or the replacement of older amalgam fillings with harmless materials only in exceptional cases. For these you can really save money abroad - it's affordable and convenient.
More safety thanks to testimonials from previous patients.
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