It Never Hurts to Question

May 4, 2006

I was going through the mail and noticed a bill from my dentist for some work I had done recently. The bill said that I owed an additional $147.40. I called the dentist office to ask them about this and the lady told me that my insurance company wouldn’t pay for my x-rays. I politely told her that they told me that insurance would cover them and that that was the only reason I allowed them to take them.

So, she agreed to credit me the $75, which means I still owe $72.40. I’m not happy about it, but it is better than $147.40. When it comes to stuff like this, it never hurts to call and ask what’s going on.

6 responses to It Never Hurts to Question

  1. Hmmm … that’s nice of your dentist, actually.

    I think we all get stuck with unexpected medical bills such as this one every once in a while. And since we have to pay out of pocket for something we didn’t budget for, we get mad. Are they screwing me, the little guy, once again? This eeeevil and unholy doctor-insurance-drug company alliance?

    However, typically medical providers give you a “best guess” on what your insurance will cover. It is your responsibility, in theory, to verify what will be covered. This should especially be doable with dental services–the list of procedures is very short relative to the stuff the M.D.’s do.

    I know this doesn’t help, but it is what it is.

  2. I’m not saying I was ripped off. I just wanted to be sure the amount was correct.

  3. Still, that seems kind of lame. Usually insurance allows you to get x-rays if you haven’t for XX amount of time. For $75, I’d give my insurance carrier a call too.

  4. Same thing kinda happened to me with the eye doctor. I knew my health insurance only allows me to go once every 2 years, and I wasn’t sure if I was in the timeframe. So when I made the appt. I asked them to verify my insurance. At the appt I asked again and they said it was all taken care of. Now I have a $90 bill. So I wrote them a letter and so far they haven’t replied, but I did get a nice letter saying I was in the 30-60 Day bucket. If I get another one of those I’ll make a phone call.

  5. This is why I actually like Kaiser, which is more of a membership hospital although it’s called an HMO. You pay your insurance and your copays, and that’s it.

    I had Blue Shield before and I’d get a fat bill every time I saw a doctor, particularly if labwork was involved. I learned to challenge every bill at least once – they’d always void the charges or massively reduce them. I wondered how much this paperwork song and dance cost them…

  6. I had the same thing happen to my wife when she got an advanced cleaning procedure done. So when I went in to get a similar procedure done, I had them first verify with the insurance company that the procedure would be covered. They did so, yet I still recieved a bill for it. We contested it and they removed it. What a pain in the…