Dental bill four years after service

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verbose
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Dental bill four years after service

Post by verbose » Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:57 pm

I just received a bill from a dentist for services in 2013. The dentist wants about $1500.

Some relevant facts:
- I did receive the services listed on the bill
- I paid smaller amounts on the dates of service, whatever the office asked for
- I had dental insurance at the time
- I never received an EOB from dental insurance
- This is the first bill from the dentist. The bill does not indicate that prior bills have been missed. I haven’t moved.
- The bill has an asterisk indicating “charges have been submitted to insurance” but no details of the resolution.

The insurance was through my husband, who still works for that employer. However, the small company he works for changes dental insurance companies about once a year, and at times more often than that. I have no idea what dental insurance I had in 2013. Whatever it was, it ended right after these dates of service because I can see the amount changed in old pay stubs.

Around that time, I had to fight several dentist bills. I had a molar removed and a (failed) implant. I had continuous dental coverage through my husband’s employer but that was three or four different dental insurance companies. They kept denying all claims because the tooth was removed before their company took over the company’s business. I successfully fought it each time, with the assistance of HR and the insurance broker at my husband’s employer. These charges are related to the failed implant and the extracted molar.

It’s been over four years. I don’t dispute that I owe something but I don’t have the information required to determine what insurance should have paid or even whether the charges should have been reduced due to insurance.

I told the receptionist during follow up visits (which were not on the bill) that I was never billed. She was unconcerned. I haven’t seen that dentist for three years now.

My husband told me to throw the bill away and forget about it. He’s serious and he thinks that I get worked up over stupid stuff (he’s right).

What should I do with it?

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celia
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by celia » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:25 pm

You should tell them to bill the dental insurance companies you had at the time. When the EOBs arrive for you and the dentist, they will say it is past the deadline for submitting bills. (For medical insurance it used to be 18 months, I think, since we had this happen to us once.)

Once you see the EOBs, if they still contact you, just say the insurance copy was liable to pay the bill but they were apparently not billed. You owe nothing at this point.

It's the same as if you got a bill 40 years after the date of service. If they really wanted the money, they should have billed promptly and resolved everything in a few months.

an_asker
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by an_asker » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:27 pm

I think you should talk with the receptionist/billing specialist at the dentist's office and see if they can find the paperwork. In the medical (or dental) world, there is no statute of limitations (from what I've read in these forums). I've had similar issues though not that late. I got a dentist's bill about a year after the work was done, and we were able to settle it to mutual satisfaction (though my memory is hazy on the details).

And yes, there are no EOBs for dental work. Right now, I am still wary about getting some dental work done because the estimate provided by the dentist's office does not match the amount in the Delta HMO's charge for that treatment. Delta's rep was vehement that the dentist cannot bill for more than what's on that agreement. She even suggested that I three-way call the dentist's front desk. I am yet to build up the required courage and patience (or the minimum toothache that pushes me over the edge)! :oops:

All the best!

SimonJester
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by SimonJester » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:29 pm

Do you have the insurance information (policy number and contact number) from the old insurance? If so call them up and see what they suggest, however if the DDS never billed the insurance company until now they probably will not accept the claim.

I would not pay this until it had been run through the insurance policy and an EOB was issued. If its too late to file a claim I would ask your old insurance company if there were any provisions in their contract with the DDS at the time for timely billing. It may be that the DDS is out of luck per their insurance contract.

If all else fails I would try and work with the DDS to pay what you would have if insurance had paid their bill. But get it in writing your payment will settle the account in full...
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Rupert
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by Rupert » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:30 pm

an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:27 pm
And yes, there are no EOBs for dental work.
I get EOBs for dental work.

an_asker
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by an_asker » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:47 pm

Rupert wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:30 pm
an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:27 pm
And yes, there are no EOBs for dental work.
I get EOBs for dental work.
Hmm! What dental insurance do you have? I have Delta HMO and I was informed by the rep I talked with that they don't provide EOBs.

rkhusky
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by rkhusky » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:51 pm

an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:47 pm
Rupert wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:30 pm
an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:27 pm
And yes, there are no EOBs for dental work.
I get EOBs for dental work.
Hmm! What dental insurance do you have? I have Delta HMO and I was informed by the rep I talked with that they don't provide EOBs.
If no paper EOB's, seems like there should be something on their web site. I don't think I would do business with a company that did not provide any documentation.

Rupert
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by Rupert » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:53 pm

an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:47 pm
Rupert wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:30 pm
an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:27 pm
And yes, there are no EOBs for dental work.
I get EOBs for dental work.
Hmm! What dental insurance do you have? I have Delta HMO and I was informed by the rep I talked with that they don't provide EOBs.
Guardian

an_asker
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by an_asker » Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:55 pm

rkhusky wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:51 pm
an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:47 pm
Rupert wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:30 pm
an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:27 pm
And yes, there are no EOBs for dental work.
I get EOBs for dental work.
Hmm! What dental insurance do you have? I have Delta HMO and I was informed by the rep I talked with that they don't provide EOBs.
If no paper EOB's, seems like there should be something on their web site. I don't think I would do business with a company that did not provide any documentation.
I don't have an option - they are the ones we get through our employer. I was not asking for a paper EOB anyway!

OK, let me try calling them once more sometime this week and double check again.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:03 pm

an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:47 pm
Rupert wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:30 pm
an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:27 pm
And yes, there are no EOBs for dental work.
I get EOBs for dental work.
Hmm! What dental insurance do you have? I have Delta HMO and I was informed by the rep I talked with that they don't provide EOBs.
I get EOBs from MetLife for dental all the time. They don’t cover much, but they sent an EOB to tell you that :oops:
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euroswiss
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by euroswiss » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:11 pm

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:03 pm
an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:47 pm
Rupert wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:30 pm
an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:27 pm
And yes, there are no EOBs for dental work.
I get EOBs for dental work.
Hmm! What dental insurance do you have? I have Delta HMO and I was informed by the rep I talked with that they don't provide EOBs.
I get EOBs from MetLife for dental all the time. They don’t cover much, but they sent an EOB to tell you that :oops:
:mrgreen: Same here with MetLife dental :sharebeer

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verbose
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by verbose » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:12 pm

I don’t know the name of the insurance carrier. I know they had Delta Dental and Anthem Dental but there were a few others in there. Dental changed carriers every year. I have no idea who it was in 2013.

I don’t want to call the dentist’s office without more information. I’m not ready to acknowledge having received the bill. So I’ve emailed HR at my husband’s employer if they have that information.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:18 pm

One time, I got a very stale bill from a doctor who claimed to have been consulted during my son’s birth. I didn’t recognize the name, and my son was by then in kindergarten. He might have been there, but he clearly wasn’t one of the main players.

I asked the office manager how she would react if she got a bill from Bloomingdale’s for a sweater from years ago, especially if she didn’t remember having a sweater from Bloomingdale’s. I pay my bills, generally, but I don’t think that she was surprised to not get paid.
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8foot7
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by 8foot7 » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:18 pm

Just e-mail them and let them know you are processing the bill and you will let them know of a resolution by November 2021.

In all seriousness I would at most pay whatever your portion of the bill after insurance would have properly paid out would be. I also think you would be well within your rights to simply not pay anything at all.

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flamesabers
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by flamesabers » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:28 pm

verbose wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:12 pm
I don’t know the name of the insurance carrier. I know they had Delta Dental and Anthem Dental but there were a few others in there. Dental changed carriers every year. I have no idea who it was in 2013.

I don’t want to call the dentist’s office without more information. I’m not ready to acknowledge having received the bill. So I’ve emailed HR at my husband’s employer if they have that information.
I recommend checking what the statue of limitations for dental bills is in your area. If you have any dental EOB in your records (even if it's from a different carrier then what you had in 2013), I suggest checking it for any reference to the legal statue of limitations.

If the statue of limitations has passed, I don't think you need to take any further action unless the situation changes.

If it is within the statue of limitations, hopefully your husband's HR will have the necessary information you need. It's practically a guarantee I think that insurance won't pay a bill that is for services performed 4+ years ago.

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verbose
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by verbose » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:47 pm

HR has confirmed that the insurance was Assurant Dental. I have no idea what I should have owed because I never received an EOB and no longer have details of the plan. I sent an email to Assurant with names and dates, which is all I have. I don’t expect a prompt or helpful reply—and I can’t really blame them.

I paid a few hundred dollars at the time of service, as requested. So the dentist has been paid something.

Does it make sense to call the dentists’ office and ask what happened? I feel like it’s too asymmetrical. I don’t have enough information to judge anything they say. And if I call and act concerned then they know I saw the bill and considered paying it.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by TomatoTomahto » Mon Nov 27, 2017 5:00 pm

Verbose, if I in another life run a crappy dental office and bill people four years after service, having already gotten money from my patient 4 years ago, I can only hope that I’ll have patients as forgiving and understanding as you. I know that I won’t deserve them.

You have spent time and energy on this. The dental office was negligent. Laugh at them. Laugh at yourself. Go on with life.
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flamesabers
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by flamesabers » Mon Nov 27, 2017 6:01 pm

verbose wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:47 pm
HR has confirmed that the insurance was Assurant Dental. I have no idea what I should have owed because I never received an EOB and no longer have details of the plan. I sent an email to Assurant with names and dates, which is all I have. I don’t expect a prompt or helpful reply—and I can’t really blame them.

I paid a few hundred dollars at the time of service, as requested. So the dentist has been paid something.

Does it make sense to call the dentists’ office and ask what happened? I feel like it’s too asymmetrical. I don’t have enough information to judge anything they say. And if I call and act concerned then they know I saw the bill and considered paying it.
Unless you hear back from the insurance company first and get the details on this issue, I don't think it makes sense to talk to the dentist's office. If you talk to the dentist's office now, they'll probably tell you that you owe them $1,500 and if the insurance company won't pay, the bill must be paid by you. Why would the dentist office tell you anything different from the information in your billing statement?

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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by koozie » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:08 pm

This happened to me a few years ago. They mailed a bill to me about five years late, and even after I moved out of state. I called the office and they said their billing staff had screwed up years ago and they were making one last try to bill the insurance company, my copy of the bill was just part of the process. They did not expect me to pay, but they hoped the insurance might. Maybe your case is similar, though YMMV.

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badbreath
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by badbreath » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:13 pm

since the bill had a * with still waiting for insurance payment I would just highlight that and send them the bill with a note I will wait for insurance payment before settling bill.

(keep copies of everything)
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InMyDreams
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by InMyDreams » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:25 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:28 pm
I recommend checking what the statue of limitations for dental bills is in your area. If you have any dental EOB in your records (even if it's from a different carrier then what you had in 2013), I suggest checking it for any reference to the legal statue of limitations.
Also, contact the insurance company to see if participating providers were required to bill within a certain period.

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celia
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by celia » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:13 am

an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:47 pm
I have Delta HMO and I was informed by the rep I talked with that they don't provide EOBs.
You have indirectly answered your own implied question: Why didn't I get an EOB?.

The way HMOs work (medical and dental) is that they get a fixed payment every month from the insurance company, whether they see you as a patient or not. Think of it as the payment for the work done is averaged out over the whole year and some years you will have more expensive work while others years are minimal (and some HMO patients never go in). The doctor or dentist accepts this as payment for a list of services they provide. (The insurance company saves part of the premium for hospitalizations (or orthodontia?) and other expenses not offered by the doctor or dentist.) The patient will also pay a co-pay at each visit to contribute to the cost (and to avoid going in for excessive "free" services.) On HMOs, if they can't give you a needed contracted service, they should refer you out of network and they pay the doctor or dentist they referred you to. Since their contract with the insurance company says they will accept these payments (and co-pays) for services rendered, there is no need for anyone to send you an EOB.

OP, Was your insurance company (Assurant Dental?) an HMO?

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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by TIAX » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:43 am

an_asker wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 2:27 pm
In the medical (or dental) world, there is no statute of limitations (from what I've read in these forums)
Incorrect, every state has a statute of limitations. The relevant one is likely for breach of contract. Check the statute and consider whether this will get to court by then. Don't make any payments as that may reset the limitations period.

HIinvestor
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by HIinvestor » Tue Nov 28, 2017 2:00 am

We get statements from insurer showing what they paid and what our share is. We get some minimal dental coverage from our medical insurance.

My understanding is that generally claims must be submitted to insurer in a timely manner (6-12 months from date of service) or they may be denied as stale.

I once got a bill for having D born at the hospital when she was 2 years old. I asked the billing office for an itemization of the charges. They said the claim was too old to have itemization and I told them I wouldn’t pay without itemization. They said fine, just disregard it and throw it away.

I also mentioned that under the medical insurance policy in effect continuously from when I was pregnant with D thru the dates she was born and in the hospital, my portion of payments for labor and delivery under my policy was $0, so I was very curious as to why I was getting any bill (for S we were only billed for the tyvek jumpsuit H was supposed to wear for the delivery, which he forgot to put on and wore for D’s delivery).

I agree that I wouldn’t pay as you’ve already paid and it’s not your fault if the dental office didn’t timely submit claims to insurer for processing and payment, as you provided the relevant info at the time of service.

denovo
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by denovo » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:06 am

What state?
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texas lawdog
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by texas lawdog » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:48 pm

Pick up the phone and call the dental office to straighten it out.

Similar thing happened to me a while back where I had received a bill that was a few years old - called the office and they explained they had just upgraded to a new billing system which sent out a few bills in error. Sounded like an innocent mistake and they told me not to pay the bill and fixed it over the phone.

sco
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by sco » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:48 am

Call them and say "You realize that that I have no documentation anymore to backup your claim of payment due?" See what they say, and what they can produce, including the response from the insurance company. Put it back on them, let them spend the hours on it.

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MilleniumBuc
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by MilleniumBuc » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:55 am

For every dentist I have visited in the last decade, they always make me sign some paperwork during the initial visit that Inam ultimately responsible for filling the insurance paperwork, and that they only do it as a courtesy.
The paperwork pretty much says that if they don't file it, I should have done it, or I will be responsible for the full bill. I would be surprised if you did not sign one of those forms.

mouses
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by mouses » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:20 am

verbose wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 1:57 pm
I just received a bill from a dentist for services in 2013. The dentist wants about $1500.

Some relevant facts:
- I did receive the services listed on the bill
- I paid smaller amounts on the dates of service, whatever the office asked for
- I had dental insurance at the time
- I never received an EOB from dental insurance
- This is the first bill from the dentist. The bill does not indicate that prior bills have been missed. I haven’t moved.
- The bill has an asterisk indicating “charges have been submitted to insurance” but no details of the resolution.
I'd speak to the dental office billing person and ask what the insurance situation is, since they indicate it's in progress. It sounds like it is in progress rather than resolved.

Billing office people just mess up sometimes.

I would not pay a bill if insurance would have covered it if it were submitted in a timely fashion, but now will not. But a bill I genuinely owe, I would pay even if it's late.

I wonder what kind of practice this is that an implant failed. I am queued up for my first implant and from what I have been told and read, the failure rate is like 1%.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:16 am

mouses wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:20 am
I wonder what kind of practice this is that an implant failed. I am queued up for my first implant and from what I have been told and read, the failure rate is like 1%.
Mouses, I think the failure rate varies by the medical situation that created the need for an implant. I have a dental team that I’m convinced is highly capable, but one of my implants failed. It happens.
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verbose
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by verbose » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:02 am

TomatoTomahto wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:16 am
mouses wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:20 am
I wonder what kind of practice this is that an implant failed. I am queued up for my first implant and from what I have been told and read, the failure rate is like 1%.
Mouses, I think the failure rate varies by the medical situation that created the need for an implant. I have a dental team that I’m convinced is highly capable, but one of my implants failed. It happens.
The dentist that is billing me is the oral surgeon who fixed the previous oral surgeon’s mess. The first oral surgeon should not have recommended an implant for the last molar in my upper jaw given that I have a small mouth and zero extra space. Nobody could put a crown on it because there was no room. Several dentists and the oral surgeon who fixed it told me this but I didn’t know it beforehand. I no longer have a tooth there but no one can see it and its lack does not bother me.

Da5id
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by Da5id » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:10 am

I'd communicate with them and try and fix it. I rather doubt you should end up owing. Heck, I got a medical bill 7 months (I think) after a procedure and I got an EOB saying it was denied and that I was not to pay it because it was too late under BC/BS timely billing standards negotiated with the provider.

Ignoring a bill has the risk that it will go to collections and be a pain to clean up. But a 4 year old bill is grossly unfair. You don't remember the details, you've changed insurers, etc. I hope you win...

westrichj312
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by westrichj312 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:27 am

Toss it out as it probably has gone to collections. It will fall off your credit report in a few years and is no big deal, especially if your retired and don't need a top notch credit report anymore. we haven't payed a hospital bill in 15 years.

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verbose
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Re: Dental bill four years after service

Post by verbose » Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:51 am

OP resolution of this issue:

I found out which insurance I had at the time and started researching this bill. But then I received a second bill stating that I only owed $56 for "previous balance" and no mention of the first bill for thousands of dollars. With it being near the holidays, I decided that if the dentist could wait four years to bill me, he could wait a month for me to respond.

Last week, the dentist's office called me. I told them that I received two bills that didn't make sense and had not responded to either one. I told her I never received an EOB, and that I had asked at the front desk during treatment about billing and was told I would be sent a bill. The person who called believed I had been billed for years (not true) but she had only started in her position in September. Apparently, she inherited a mess from the person who held the position previously. The dentist's two locations (both of which I visited to see the same dentist) were operating as separate financial entities--one had my insurance information and one didn't. That's why the two bills were for different amounts. The one that had my insurance information had never submitted anything to insurance. So the assistant I spoke to called the insurance company and then spoke to the dentist, who forgave the entire balance.

She didn't say, but I assume they missed a deadline to submit charges to insurance. Since I did have insurance, it may have been contractually impossible to bill me now. The dental insurance company I had at the time was not very good--they were probably not going to pay much. But since the charges were never submitted, we'll never know.

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