This is going to sound weird, but our new pediatric dentist sent my five-year-old son a bill. We’d been back and forth with them quite a bit—there were issues with them getting the insurance verified and them not getting paperwork to me in time. The day of the appointment, they called me and told me and told me that they had just stopped taking our insurance and that the visit would be billed with out-of-network charges. Quite frustrating because I’d booked the appointment a month in advance and had gotten their info from the insurance company.
Anyway, I decided just to go through with the appointment because my son was already prepped for it and the remaining balance would be small. So, we went ahead with the appointment and it didn’t go well. My son was squirmy and the pediatric dentist didn’t get to do the full exam. The “cleaning” was about 30 seconds of them brushing his teeth with a toothbrush. Not exactly what I’d call top-notch clinical work. We got through it, though, and I paid my portion at the end, and we left.
Here we are almost three months later and a letter comes in the mail for my son. It’s not just a bill—it’s a notice that they’re going to send him to collections if he doesn’t pay the remaining portion, which is now pretty much the full amount because apparently there’s no out-of-network coverage.
I’m somewhat tempted to blow it off and let them try. It’s not going to go anywhere and I’m more than a little upset that we wound up with the bill anyway. The whole thing could have been easily prevented if they’d just been on the ball. Can I safely disregard the notice?
You’re probably not going to like this answer, but you should just pay the bill. No doubt, you signed an agreement saying you’d accept full responsibility for payment even if insurance didn’t pay. Ultimately, it’s your bill to pay since you entered into an agreement with the practice. Sending the bill to your son could give you some wiggle room if it ever came down to it, but that’s really something you’d need to take up with a layer.
Yes, they biffed this one pretty big. It sounds like there were a lot of things they could have done better. It’s hard to say how you could have gotten around it other than to be more familiar with your insurance plan and confirm on your own what the charges will be and what insurance plans to pay beforehand. Granted, that’s not something most people do, and most offices will take care of it for you with a high degree of accuracy too. But, ultimately, any charges accrued are your responsibility.
This blog is sponsored by Dr. Raymond Bolt, a provider of pediatric dental services in Auburn, AL.