Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Dental Bill Outrage!

I cancelled a dental appointment last week. I did it because of DH's job change our insurance wasn't processed yet, though it would be eligible from his start date. I just wanted to confirm that the procedures would be covered and what my out-of-pocket costs would be.

The Dental Office assured me the would work on the billing later. I said no and I was cancelling the appointment. They said it would all work out and I was very uncomfortable with that. These were the people who wanted to do 3 crowns, multiple fillings, etc. I said no, so the receptionist said she would have to charge me a cancellation fee. I said "fine", expecting it to be $25-100.

Nope it was $350 to cancel the appointment. Which is an outrageous price. Of course turns out after I called my insurance company today, if I had gone, the dental office lied to me and they were not a "in-network" provider. So the procedures, 2 crowns, would not have been covered by the insurance. Instead it would have been $3k+ out-of-pocket. So the dental office blatently lied to me.

So now I have to go and argue with them over the cancellation fee, which I feel is outrageous. It is ridiculous that they are allowed to get away with this. But they are. I am going to call them tomorrow and ask about reducing the bill. I also am contacting the state board and reporting them to the BBB.

We shall see what happens...


Patrick said...

That is an insanely high fee!

You could always resort to publishing the full situation (including the dental office's name) on your blog, and contacting your local news service - many local news services love to run these kind of stories. I'm sure they would reverse those charges very quickly at the prospect of that much negative publicity. :)

Anonymous said...

File a complaint with the Department of Professional Licensing in your state. If they get 3 or more filings, the dentist could lose his license. Also, was the cancellation fee posted conspicuously in the office? If not, they are in the wrong. You can also take the dr. to small claims court.
Posting it on your blog will get you sued for slander. $350 is NOT a news story.

Living Almost Large said...

I don't post my name or the doctor's office. I will update my post shortly about how they were cheating me $20. And right now I'm about to submit an insurance investigation.

someone on the inside said...

Unfortunately, in signing your health history, you probably likely signed an agreement of a specific amount of time needed for advance in cancelling an appointment, and agreed, albeit indiretly, to whatever fees they apply. Some offices have a set fee that increases with each late notice cancelling (usually only given to less than 24 hours notice). Others have fees based off the time reserved for you, for example 100 dollars per hour of appointment time. Remember, they did reserve this time for your husband and if you cancelled with too short of notice to fill it, they would lose all that time in which they could have seen someone else. Your personal insurance problem that you found out too late would result in them having their business screwed up for the day, and money is definitely being lost when a patient doesn't show up. It definitely sounds like something was wrong about they perceived your insurance, and it is definitely good that you had cancelled it. If only more patients were more aware of their insurance. But for that cancellation charge, you'll likely legally have to consider your self out because I dont know any dental office that doesn't have a short notice cancellation fee. It's too bad they don't recognize customer service better and maybe let you off with a warning first. (Or maybe they already had?? You may need to look at the past possibly too). But I have heard of offices with quite high cancellation fees (again usually only for under 24, sometimes 48 hours on the more agressive office). You may be able to get them to reduce or waive it, especially if you let them know you were unaware of this and are very sorry about having to cancel. However, I am sure they have their butts covered very well in this very litigious society, so leaglly you likely don't have much to stand on. Sorry to give ya the bad news.