Dental Bill for $2200+

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RSteve

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I have exceptional dental insurance for which I pay a hefty sum. I've had the same policy for about 15 years. In December, I got two crowns on my upper front teeth. They had become a real nuisance, chipping frequently as they thinned, as I aged. At the time the work was done, I immediately made my co-pay. In mid January I received a bill that indicated that neither my dental insurance nor I had paid any portion of the bill. I phoned the billing office and inquired as to what was going on. The office manager said she'd investigate and get right back to me. She never got back to me. Yesterday, I phoned the insurance company. They emailed me a copy of my statement, which indicated that the dental firm had been paid on January 6. Today, I phoned the dental office to see if everything had been straightened out. "Please leave your name and phone number and we'll return your call." I did not receive a return call.
(Very pissed off) I went to the dental office, in person. Three office people chatting amongst themselves; one immediately said, "I, I , I had you on my schedule to call, but I got so busy."
"It doesn't appear that you're too busy to chat with your co-workers. Did you get my billing mess straightened out?"
"I'll check it now. Yes, sir. We received payment on January 6, but it wasn't entered into your account until you inquired."
"Do you think it's possible, in the future, to return calls and update payments in a timely manner?"
"We're really sorry, but we're doing the best job we can."

My dentist is a young woman in her late 30s. She's extraordinary and if she were leave this dental practice, I'd move with her. If not for her, I'd have moved on a few years ago.

In 2015 a similar billing mess occured after the billing manager (since terminated) told me not to worry, she'd get everything straightened out. Instead, my account was turned over to a collection agency. We immediately sued for defamation of character and sought civil damages. My attorney sent all the appropriate payment documents from my insurance company along with the receipts from my co-pays to the firm's home office in St. Louis. Within hours of the receipt of the documents, the company was literally pleading with us not to go to court. They had to pay all legal fees and contact all credit reporting agencies that they were at fault in filing a false report. My FICO score dropped a little over 200 points with that billing sent to the collection agency as a DNP. I don't know what the attorney's fees were, but he's in the 400 to 500 dollar an hour range. My FICO score and others ultimately returned to their normal number.
 

kxg

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Basic incompetence will eventually drive me nuts. I've been dealing with a situation the last couple of months concerning my 91 year old mother whose deepening dementia is necessitating a move from an assisted living facility to a skilled nursing or memory facility. It has been very frustrating in too many respects and I'm thinking I may be on someone's "watch out for this guy" list. The whole situation has escalated in the last few weeks and Monday was an astoundingly extraordinary day in terms of how many phone calls one can receive from different people all talking about the same issue without actually talking with each other to make sense of the issue. The level of incompetence on one person's part, the person with the most responsibility in dealing with the issue, was amazing and very problematic. Some of the incompetence is due to lack of experience, but most seems to be a result of the Peter Principle at work and some seems to result from laziness, or maybe it is frustration on their part, given the level of confusion and ambiguity. All I know is that a little expertise can go a long ways but incompetence can go even further, but in the wrong direction.
I believe it is time for a calming smoke!!
 

Zeno Marx

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This was a few years ago, but because I paid for my own dental work at the time, it still nags me. In one year, the exact same annual appointment went up 240%.

But then I was able to get dental insurance. I had three choices, so I called my office to get some advice and to see which one they accepted. Not once, but I called twice to make sure I was going to use this insurance at my office. They were very dismissive and kept repeating, "We accept all insurance." Great. So I pick one. I thought a filling fell out, so I went in for a simple check. I give my insurance card, and they tell me they don't accept that insurance. I was fuming inside. The dentist looked at my teeth all of 10 seconds. I kid you not. $120. I pay, but by the time I got home, I couldn't handle it anymore. I called them and tore into them. They handed me off from the lowest on the pole and then to the "office manager" who I again let have it. They wouldn't give me a 10% discount. They wouldn't give me a $5 credit. Nothing. They accepted ZERO responsibility. I found a new dentist after decades of being a customer. I could go into a long diatribe about how dentists are scummy, and I'd bet a crisp $100 that it is industry wide. If you attended a dental convention, my money is on they teach each other how to play all their games.
 

RSteve

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My cousin is a retired dentist/oral surgeon and millionaire. My dental crowns would cost an uninsured patient $1325 each. He says they cost the dentist about 20% of that, if they use an independent lab. If they have their own lab and it's been paid for and depreciated as capital equipment, the cost of the crown, depending on the patient load, can be less than 10% of what's charged the uninsured client.
 

Idlefellow

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I've got about $2200 out of pocket dental work pending, and that's counting maxing out my insurance limit for 2021. Might be cheaper just to eat soft food from now on.
 
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