Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

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schrute
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Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by schrute » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:02 pm

Dentist sent me a bill 4-5 months later. Going through it says I owe $55 because the SO did a few emergency cares (she freaked out over nothing). In any case at the bottom it says 90 days over due. But the charges to my insurance were a few weeks ago. And the bill date produced at the top was just at the start of the month. I can't be 90 days over due if they just produced the bill? Also, I imagine I can't contest the "emergency care" since she just went in and they looked at her teeth and left without any actual care?

Don't misconstrue asking or challenging what's being billed months later as not wanting to pay. I've gone to dental offices (different dentists) where my insurance was charged services not even remotely near happened. Like my insurance was charged a root canal procedure and they never performed one on me - let alone never had one in my life. An easy X-Ray would dismiss that immediately. I was nice and polite and pointed out this mistake, which they apologized and offered to keep it as a credit for me for cleanings/procedures in the future. I declined and asked they return to my insurance and promptly switched dentists. According to Yelp, they've done it before.
Last edited by schrute on Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Riprap
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by Riprap » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:10 pm

Do the right thing, pay the bill. If your SO used the dentist's time, he deserves to be paid regardless of sloppy billing.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:15 pm

Are they charging you interest for being “overdue?” If not, I’d let it go. Their software probably just looks at Date-of-Service and Date-bill-printed and voila.

As far as “a few” emergency visits? You got away cheaply. The office had to be available, your wife examined for a non-zero amount of time, the tools sanitized, the discardables discarded, etc. How does that not count as “care?”
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remomnyc
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by remomnyc » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:18 pm

Our dentist bills always come months later because they wait until they get the insurance reimbursement before they charge. I consider it my courtesy float.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:28 pm

Since SO wanted the care and you don't want to pay for it, maybe (s)he should.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

schrute
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by schrute » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:39 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:15 pm
Are they charging you interest for being “overdue?” If not, I’d let it go. Their software probably just looks at Date-of-Service and Date-bill-printed and voila.

As far as “a few” emergency visits? You got away cheaply. The office had to be available, your wife examined for a non-zero amount of time, the tools sanitized, the discardables discarded, etc. How does that not count as “care?”
It's so many months that can't recall the details. It wasn't serious enough where it stands out in my mind. She went in a few times because she had something with her gums and some pain. But nothing I would call an emergency and nothing she remembers as an emergency. She booked an appointment. This isn't like weekend care for cracking a chipped tooth. In terms of dental care, I don't know what equivalent this would be. An emergency to me is like going to the emergency room or going to the doctor the same day.

Don't misconstrue asking or challenging what's being billed months later as not wanting to pay. I've gone to dental offices (different dentists) where my insurance was charged services not even remotely near happened. Like my insurance was charged a root canal procedure and they never performed one on me - let alone never had one in my life. An easy X-Ray would dismiss that immediately. I was nice and polite and pointed out this mistake, which they apologized and offered to keep it as a credit for me for cleanings/procedures in the future. I declined and asked they return to my insurance and promptly switched dentists. According to Yelp, they've done it before.

kenoryan
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by kenoryan » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:45 pm

I agree. Pay the bill. You got 4 months to hang on to that money. Sometimes insurances don’t pay for 2-3 months. I know. My wife works for dental insurance. They love to decline bills because it was ‘coded wrongly’. That way they get to hang on to the money for a few months. If you feel strongly about this, feel free to pay an estimated amount on the date of service. I’m sure your dentist won’t object.

athan
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by athan » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:50 pm

schrute wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:02 pm
Dentist sent me a bill 4-5 months later. Going through it says I owe $55 because the SO did a few emergency cares (she freaked out over nothing). In any case at the bottom it says 90 days over due. But the charges to my insurance were a few weeks ago. And the bill date produced at the top was just at the start of the month. I can't be 90 days over due if they just produced the bill? Also, I imagine I can't contest the "emergency care" since she just went in and they looked at her teeth and left without any actual care?
Dude, you are talking about $55. Pay it and move on to your next worry.

iamlucky13
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by iamlucky13 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:06 pm

Yes, it is very unreasonably delinquent, but many things are unreasonable about health care billing practices, and unreasonable is not the same as invalid, in case that was part of your question.

Just make sure they aren't charging you any late fees etc. If they are, you'll probably have to take it up with the provider, who I assume is the party that issued the bill.

Make sure you save a copy of the bill, which shows the billing date, just in case further questions arise about the timing of billing vs. payment.

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cheese_breath
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by cheese_breath » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:11 pm

athan wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:50 pm
schrute wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:02 pm
Dentist sent me a bill 4-5 months later. Going through it says I owe $55 because the SO did a few emergency cares (she freaked out over nothing). In any case at the bottom it says 90 days over due. But the charges to my insurance were a few weeks ago. And the bill date produced at the top was just at the start of the month. I can't be 90 days over due if they just produced the bill? Also, I imagine I can't contest the "emergency care" since she just went in and they looked at her teeth and left without any actual care?
Dude, you are talking about $55. Pay it and move on to your next worry.
Maybe he would have been happier if they'd pulled a few teeth, and his bill was $550? :happy
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

Irisheyes
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by Irisheyes » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:23 pm

Not sure why you feel an inclination to contest/object to reasonable charges that professionals who have provided you with services have levied.

This thread and your prior one on your landlord's proposed 2.5% rent increase (which you object to partly because he's paid off the mortgage on his property, which isn't any of your business and has nothing to do with reasonable market value for your rental) doesn't strike me as bogleheadism. Your refusal to pay professionals for their services on small pretexts seems odd.
Last edited by Irisheyes on Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Nissanzx1
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by Nissanzx1 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:26 pm

It's $55, pay it and be done. This is not worth anymore thought imho.

LarryAllen
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by LarryAllen » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:39 pm

Pay it. This shouldn't even have been a thread.

schrute
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by schrute » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:46 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:06 pm
Yes, it is very unreasonably delinquent, but many things are unreasonable about health care billing practices, and unreasonable is not the same as invalid, in case that was part of your question.

Just make sure they aren't charging you any late fees etc. If they are, you'll probably have to take it up with the provider, who I assume is the party that issued the bill.

Make sure you save a copy of the bill, which shows the billing date, just in case further questions arise about the timing of billing vs. payment.
The lateness is what is a bit of an irk. They're usually pretty good, but then just means don't remember the services provided. Don't have problems with the dentist much.

schrute
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by schrute » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:50 pm

remomnyc wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:18 pm
Our dentist bills always come months later because they wait until they get the insurance reimbursement before they charge. I consider it my courtesy float.
Ah got it. Usually mine is taken care of right then and there. I just get cleanings myself. If there's something else that my insurance doesn't completely cover usually take care of it when the bill comes a few weeks later. But very straight forward.

staythecourse
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by staythecourse » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:58 pm

If dental insurance is like medical insurance then the provider has ONE year to put in the claim. Just because you don't like it doesn't make it wrong.

Good luck.
"The stock market [fluctuation], therefore, is noise. A giant distraction from the business of investing.” | -Jack Bogle

kenoryan
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by kenoryan » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:04 pm

Medicare is one year but most private insurances require providers to send their bill in 90 days.

toofache32
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by toofache32 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:31 pm

schrute wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:50 pm
remomnyc wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:18 pm
Our dentist bills always come months later because they wait until they get the insurance reimbursement before they charge. I consider it my courtesy float.
Ah got it. Usually mine is taken care of right then and there. I just get cleanings myself. If there's something else that my insurance doesn't completely cover usually take care of it when the bill comes a few weeks later. But very straight forward.
Delays are getting more common these days because many dental plans require treatment to be submitted to medical insurance first, and the dentist has to send the medical denial with the dental claim. Most dental treatments are not covered by medical insurance so this is a way for dental insurance to further delay payment which allows them another couple of months to collect interest on your premiums. Don't blame the dentist, blame the insurance.

Miakis
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by Miakis » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:37 pm

I recently got one that was a year old for an "insurance correction."

When I called, the dentist told me that my insurance company reserves the right to send corrections and demand payments back from them for up to 12 months.

We had no real way of tracking down why any such correction occurred or if it was legitimate. I ended up just paying it. It's annoying to be billed so late, but I assumed my dentist wasn't scamming me.

emanuel_v19
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by emanuel_v19 » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:45 pm

Miakis wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:37 pm
I recently got one that was a year old for an "insurance correction."

When I called, the dentist told me that my insurance company reserves the right to send corrections and demand payments back from them for up to 12 months.

We had no real way of tracking down why any such correction occurred or if it was legitimate. I ended up just paying it. It's annoying to be billed so late, but I assumed my dentist wasn't scamming me.
I am afraid this is happening in my case too. I recently got a bill with the amount of a little over $300, and that is a lot for me right now. Should I call and ask for details or just let it go? I thought insurance would cover it! At least that's what they said when I left their office 4 months ago!

tibbitts
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by tibbitts » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:02 pm

emanuel_v19 wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:45 pm
Miakis wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:37 pm
I recently got one that was a year old for an "insurance correction."

When I called, the dentist told me that my insurance company reserves the right to send corrections and demand payments back from them for up to 12 months.

We had no real way of tracking down why any such correction occurred or if it was legitimate. I ended up just paying it. It's annoying to be billed so late, but I assumed my dentist wasn't scamming me.
I am afraid this is happening in my case too. I recently got a bill with the amount of a little over $300, and that is a lot for me right now. Should I call and ask for details or just let it go? I thought insurance would cover it! At least that's what they said when I left their office 4 months ago!
You should ask the insurance and the dentist. Sometimes when the dentist says it will be covered they might not know about deductibles, etc. they are just saying the service is a covered service. If they contacted the insurance and were told that in your case it would be 100% covered with your balance being nothing, that would be an issue.

toofache32
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by toofache32 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:26 am

Miakis wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:37 pm
I recently got one that was a year old for an "insurance correction."

When I called, the dentist told me that my insurance company reserves the right to send corrections and demand payments back from them for up to 12 months.

We had no real way of tracking down why any such correction occurred or if it was legitimate. I ended up just paying it. It's annoying to be billed so late, but I assumed my dentist wasn't scamming me.
Insurance companies perform RAC audits where they hire a 3rd party to review claims and see if they can find loopholes to "claw back" any money paid out. The company doing the audit gets maybe 20% of any money they can get back (talk about a conflict of interest!). When they find a claim that "shouldn't" have been paid, they demand a refund back from the dentist which means the dentist then sends that bill to the patient. The crazy thing is that insurance contracts have a clause that states if the doctor refuses to refund payment back to the insurance company, the insurance company simply deducts that amount from future payments from other patients. This should be illegal.

garzjoh
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by garzjoh » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:53 am

Finally something I know a lot about. Answers in no particular order.

The 90 days past due is probably a calculated field in their billing software and nothing to complain about unless they ask for late fees or refer to a collection agency.

Some insurance companies are notorious for delaying payment and they use many tactics. My favorite (aka most frustrating) was UHC constantly denying for illegible information when the claim was submitted electronically through their provider portal.

Today, many insurance providers are requiring what they call a medical necessity determination. It often requires mailing or faxing the patient's entire case file and a short write-up defending the diagnostic codes used to justify the procedures that were performed. Supposedly these reviews are being performed by actual, licensed medical professionals, but I often question that based on the calls/questions that they ask.

Typical timeline ends up being
Up to 7 days after claim submission until claim is accepted. This is the case even for claims submitted electronically through a clearinghouse.
At about 30 days after claim 'acceptance', the insurance provider sends out letter requesting records for medical necessity review. Usually the is a tax number provided, but many are giving only a PO Box requiring records to be printed and mailed.
At 2-4 weeks, someone will call either agree with the medical necessity or request more information.
At 2-4 weeks after medical necessity determination, the claim is 'adjudicated'. This delay occurs even for denials.

This is the typical minimum timeline. When more info is requested, it just keeps adding a minimum 2 weeks.

What has made this more messed up in recent years is the rise of self insured groups. With this scenario, the name on your insurance card is just the company that handles the claims, but the self insured employer processes the claims, or they contact that out to someone else. Often they don't understand or ignore the timeliness requirements of the various 'prompt pay' laws and that delays claim processing even more.

Now everytime you have a delayed claim, you have to wonder just how far around the world your medical records have gone and how secure are they.

mouses
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by mouses » Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:01 am

I actually got several hundred dollars back from AARP Plan D because some sort of financial review caught an underpayment for a med on their part. I think there was some confusion in the billing as to when I went into catastrophic coverage.

I've also had to pay med bills of something like $15 and $50 due to some sort of review. I phoned in about both of these to see what they were for.

OP, $50 for multiple short visits is cheap. I don't think I've ever gotten out of a dentist's office for that for one short visit.

mouses
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by mouses » Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:08 am

garzjoh wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:53 am
Some insurance companies are notorious for delaying payment and they use many tactics. My favorite (aka most frustrating) was UHC constantly denying for illegible information when the claim was submitted electronically through their provider portal.

Today, many insurance providers are requiring what they call a medical necessity determination. It often requires mailing or faxing the patient's entire case file and a short write-up defending the diagnostic codes used to justify the procedures that were performed. Supposedly these reviews are being performed by actual, licensed medical professionals, but I often question that based on the calls/questions that they ask.
UHC, or as it was unaffectionately known in my doctors' offices when it ran MegaCorp's med insurance, United No Healthcare. However, I apportion the blame 50-50, as MegaCorp was undoubtedly aware of how UHC was functioning.

I think you can pretty much guarantee that the people reviewing the med necessity are not even nurses.

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8foot7
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by 8foot7 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:09 am

I consider any medical bill received within six months of service to be timely considering how many parties have their hands in or out of the tills. I would pay it.

(These bills you can at times get a year or more after service are a different story.)

Rupert
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by Rupert » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:18 am

My dentist and orthodontist bills always come about 6 months late because apparently the folks who work for my insurance company are jerks who give them the runaround for that long. The dentist's office once showed me all the correspondence that went back and forth between them before they were finally paid by the insurance company. My dentist actually does me the courtesy of not billing me until the insurance claim has been resolved. Technically, they could bill me sooner. So, no, I wouldn't be irked about this. I'd just pay it.

J295
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by J295 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:01 am

There is a material difference between being thrifty and being cheap. No offense intended, and perhaps you are in the process of determining what that difference means for you.

Your SO intentionally set up an appointment with a business that in large part sells services (in this case examination requested by a patient complaining of XYZ). They provided a service (professional evaluation) at what appears to be a very reasonable cost. Unless you can't afford it and need to work out a payment plan with the dentist the invoice should be paid now.

dknightd
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Re: Dentist bill came 4-5 months later, is this unreasonable?

Post by dknightd » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:23 am

Pay the bill. Ignore they say it is overdue

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