A man in Florida has decided to raffle off his beer collection to help raise money for his wife’s TMJ surgery. Florida is a state where TMJ treatment is covered by insurance, but Sara Black’s insurance company has deemed her procedure to be “not medically necessary,” leaving her stuck with the bill for the procedure, whose cost is estimated to be in excess of $60,000. Fortunately, her boyfriend, Doug Rusinek, loves her more than he loves beer and decided to donate his beer collection to the cause. Looking at some of the things in his collection, this means he really loves her a lot.

Chronic and Acute Injuries

Black’s TMJ began when she was four and suffered an injury to her jaw. The damage led to an underdevelopment of the right side of her jaw. In compensation, the left side took over much of the heavy lifting of the jaw’s workload, but recently this has begun causing other problems

The imbalance of forces has led to the displacement of the disc on both sides of her jaw. In addition to jaw pain and headaches, Black’s jaw locks for extended periods of time.

Misunderstanding about Coverage

During the initial consultation, Black and Rusinek were told that some of the costs need to be paid up-front, and that insurance reimbursement would come later. However, after review of their claim, the insurance company decided not to pay for any of the costs, leaving Black responsible for the full cost of the procedure.

It’s important for people to understand the extent of coverage before going ahead with a procedure, especially one as controversial as TMJ surgery. Insurance companies are always looking for an excuse to declare a procedure “experimental” so they don’t have to cover it. Insurance companies aren’t always clear about which is which, but you should consult their publications to attempt to determine what is covered and what documentation is necessary to make sure it is covered.

Beer to the Rescue

When Rusinek heard about the situation Black found herself in, he tried to think of any way he could help. Then it occurred to him that he had a potentially quite valuable beer collection. Although this beer collection wouldn’t sell for enough to make a dent in the cost, it includes enough rare, desirable, and expensive beers that aficionados would donate to get a chance in the raffle for a box of them.

In addition to his own collection, some of the beers have been donated by friends and even local brewers who heard about Black’s predicament. Green Bench Brewing Company, for example, donated a special limited release 750-ml of For the Mad Ones. Just 500 were bottled, numbered, and signed by the brewer.

He set up a GoFundMe page for donations, where the most recent update includes detailed information about Black’s condition. For information about the beer raffle, you have to check out the Facebook page.

How to Avoid TMJ Surgery

As we’ve noted before, TMJ surgery is typically a last resort treatment. Often it can be avoided by getting treatment early. Nonsurgical TMJ treatment is often very successful when started early. If  you are suffering from TMJ symptoms, it’s best to seek treatment sooner rather than later.

To learn more about nonsurgical TMJ treatment, please call (303) 691-0267 for an appointment with a Denver TMJ dentist at the TMJ Treatment & Sleep Center of Colorado.