Let me see if I can explain to you why this is a problem.

I received my third bill from my Dentist on friday. The third bill stating that I owe $94 and my account is PAST DUE. This is for a dentist visit from last year.

When I got the first bill I was confused - had I not paid everything I owed up front?

Turns out they switched over to a new billing system, one that doesn’t know the difference between what a patient owes and what his insurance company owes. My insurance company still owes them $94, not I. I was told to ignore the bill.

When the second one came I was annoyed again. I called them again to make sure nothing needed to be done. I was told again, don’t worry about it, they’ve had many complaints, just ignore it.

Now we’re on bill #3. I called this morning, and same story.

No one there can seem to understand why this is a problem.

Is it just me? Does anyone else see anything wrong with sending people bills that say YOUR ACCOUNT IS 60 DAYS OVERDUE when this is not the case? They had the ability to call me and tell me when my appointment was back in January, but no one can contact me to tell me why I’m getting bills I don’t owe? At no point have they made any effort to send out a letter or make a phone call to customers explaining the problem. I wonder how many people saw the bill, assumed they owed, and paid money they shouldn’t have. Did the dentist office just have a big proceed from these funds?

This is fucking FRAUD, people, error or not. You are sending bills to people who don’t owe anything and making no effort to inform them of that. In addition, it is perfectly understandable for people who are getting billed for something they don’t owe to be concerned - I don’t want some repo men hauling away my teeth or my credit rating being hammered by your mistake.

Fix the problem, folks. This has been going on for far too long. My next stop is the BBB.

I believe they do this so you will pay the bill. Then they don’t have to wait for the Ins. Co. to pay them. Eventually, the Ins. Co. will pay the dentist, and the dentist will forward the check to you.

I agree with you. Raise hell.

I feel your pain.

For going on eight months now, I’ve had a running battle with AT&T regarding a long-distance bill. Two separate long-distance charges showed up on my bill in September of 2001, both for around $70. I notified AT&T, and they removed one of the charges. The other, however, never got taken off, despite two separate customer service reps assuring me it was being removed.

AT&T has now sicced a collection agency on me. I’ve written them two letters in the past two months, both stating that the bill is in dispute. I recently got a letter back from the collection agency, saying that since I’d never written them they assume the debt is valid. Sigh.

I don’t know about where you live, but where I live, you are legally responsible for the entire bill until the insurance pays their share. No matter how long it takes them.

Well they’ve told me three times I don’t have to pay anything, so if that’s the case, they’ve got even more problems.

When you get the bill again, call the dentist’s office again. Make sure you write down the date and the name of the person and their title. Keep a running record of it in case the bill remains in dispute. Or when you call, if you have a answering machine that records messages, ask if you can record the conversation (don’t know if that’s legal, but if it is, it’s a good idea).

OK, depending on your insurance, you could be responsible if insurance doesn’t pay, or they could have no right to send you the bill, its between the ins. company and the doctor. Without knowing the plan, I can’t tell.

I do know, from my years in insurance (I’m out of the business now), doctor’s offices often send the bills to the patient knowing that they will get on the insurance company to pay the bill.

Going by my experience, its nothing to worry about, but it is a big pain in the ass.

I feel your pain, Legomancer. Not your Dental pain, but the general pain (usually occurring in the ass) of companies who are less than forthright in an effort to get your money.

This is my story:

A few months ago, my mortgage insurance company sends me this panicky letter, saying that my insurance with them is going to LAPSE if I don’t pay X Amount by X Date, and reminding me of the necessity of mortgage insurance, blah blah.

I had the check written and in the envelope, when a little voice told me to call my mortgage lender and ask what was going on, because up to this point, those insurance payments had been included in my mortgage payment… Would this mean lower mortgage payments from now on, if I was going to be paying the insurance premium separately? I wondered.


I was told that my mortgage lender had switched insurance companies, but that my coverage and my premium (which was still included in my mortgage payment) remained the same.

So basically, the old insurance company, having been dissed by the mortgage lender, was then sending out these alarmist letters to all the people who got their home loans from this lender, saying that their insurance was due and about to die, when in reality I and all of these other folks were still insured (with another company).

When I got off the phone with the mortgage lender, I was so angry at having almost gotten hosed that I considered writing the old insurance company a nasty letter (but of course I never get around to these things). I just can’t help but wonder how many people fell for that shit and ended up paying the old company for a duplicate insurance policy. :mad:

Now, granted, my beef might be against the Lender for not informing me of this change, but I have to admit that it’s entirely possible that I did receive a letter to this effect, and tossed it aside as junk mail.


Thanks for listening.

When I worked at a doctor’s office not all that long ago, we switched from manual billing to a computerized system (and the angels sang!) While the changeover was a pain in the you-know-what, the actual processes were a joy. The problem, though, was that, since we had just switched from a manual system, everyone’s balances had to be entered as such. Meaning people whose insurance companies owed and people who owed us themselves got the same bills. (Sure, we could have entered every historical transaction, but, in a practice with over 3000 patients (about 500 active accounts) and only two office workers, this really was not an option.) It eventually worked out, once the old transactions got taken care of by insurance and patients, but, for about six months, we had to do dual bookkeeping for this reason. WE knew where all the money was, but the computer didn’t. This seems like the same kind of thing.

On another note, though - your insurance should have paid by now. Three months is WAY too long.

Makes me wonder how many other people got bills for the same reason and paid them, thinking they actually owed or just paying without thinking.

And what are the chances they’ll ever get their $$ back? :rolleyes:

Depends on when the doctors office actually sent in the claim. When I handled claims, our stated turn around time was 6-8 weeks. Of course, my old company also was getting investigated by a couple of states insurance boards, almost went bankrupt and got sued by quite a few physician’s groups. So I may not have the best example of turn around time after all. :slight_smile: