Medical bill arrives with charges that I wasn't told about before treatment; can I argue against paying?
January 20, 2007 9:48 PM Subscribe
My dentist has sent me a bill for work done during two visits over the past couple of months; I thought that my insurance was covering everything, and my dentist's office never told me that I would be charged personally. I would like to dispute the charges; do I have a leg to stand on?
posted by inatizzy to Health & Fitness (14 answers total)
The details: I went in for a regular appt in December and had the standard cleaning, xrays, and checkup by the dentist. The appointment had been scheduled by the office manager at the end of my last checkup 6 months prior. I assumed that it was all part of my dental coverage from my dental insurance. I didn't pay anything during the visit, which is normal, because in the past my insurance has covered the checkups.
I went back a week or so ago to get a cavity filled, and I was a little surprised at the end to learn that I had to pay a copay. But I let it roll off my back because the copay isn't very high and it wouldn't be worth arguing. I asked the office manager if I'd have to pay anything else and she said she didn't know, but if anything it'd probably be only a little more because of the way insurance companies usually treat fillings.
Today I come home to find a bill from my dentist for about $200, a combination of charges from both visits that apparently weren't covered by my insurance. (The vast majority is from the latter appointment, when I got the filling.)
I'm upset because I was never told that I would be charged for these services, and had I known, I would've thought differently about choosing which services to receive. For example, I would've turned down the Xrays at my checkup, since they took them last time and I know that you don't need to get them every visit. But the dental assistant had been ready to go with them and 1) never told me they'd cost extra, and 2) didn't even give me a choice to turn them down.
As for the latter appointment, if I'd known that my filling would cost $200 I would have looked into a less expensive solution, or at least a different dentist where I could pay less.
I'm quite upset because I feel like they took advantage of me by not being up front with these charges. I don't deny that I could've prevented this by asking them about it before I let them do anything, but I'd never been charged before and I trusted them to tell me if things would be different. I'd been given no reason to expect that I would be charged.
I'd like to write them a letter explaining my stance and asking them to strike the charges from my record, in addition to telling them that in the future I will require them to give me advance notice of all 'personal' charges that I may be subject to, so that I can make an informed decision about those services.
Do I have a leg to stand on here? Can I really hope that they will wipe the charges? Am I approaching this the right way? I'm new to all of this stuff and I'm not sure what I can really expect. Thank you in advance for your advice.