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Dentist ripping me off I think

nevilleneville The Worst Gay(Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
edited December 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
(I am in California)
My dentist tells me that sedation costs $500
So I'm like "That sounds steep, but ok"

This "Sedation" consists of 2 valium I take the night before the crowns
Then a solution I drink before the procedure...they say I'll fall asleep.

I DON'T, however. I was awake and conscious the entire time.
they're like "Oh its fine."

then I'm told today "Yeah you owe us $500 for that." I argue that I paid for sedation, but they said it isn't their fault it didn't work.
i'm like "Tell me how 2 valium and some tylenol pm solution that doesn't work merits me paying $500"

And she's like Well you agreed to it and we were monitoring your heartrate, etc.
SO?!

imo this is bullshit
but I don't think I have a way to not pay it. :\


Especially b/c I've paid them like $9000 this year so far for crowns/etc
Looking at their yelp page they are rated poorly b/c "They do good work, but I've had easier sells at a used car dealership"

Which is true. Everything is an extra and none of it, conveniently, is covered by my insurance.

Help? Advice? Or am I screwed?

(Xposted to H/A)

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Posts

  • ChanusChanus Registered User regular
    I imagine you had to sign something before you went under sedation. If that has a clause about it not working, you're probably screwed.

    I'd find a new dentist, though. Sounds like they're not the best you could do.

  • defreakdefreak Registered User regular
    1) If there is a way to get out of paying, I don't know it, sorry I'm not much help here, pretty sure you're going to have to pay though.

    2) You should look over your policy, and know yourself what is and what isn't covered, don't rely on the dentist office to tell you.

    3) Find a new dentist.

  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    Sounds like that dentist kind of sucks balls. And not in a good way.

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  • Gigazombie CybermageGigazombie Cybermage Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Sedation is for pussies. Just get the local. ;P Seriously, that sounds... well, insane. I would check by the better business bureau also to add what others have said. Jesus, 500 bucks...

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  • FantasmaFantasma Registered User regular
    They are ripping you off, badly, sedation is more than just two pills. I have been through sedation before, and what you describe is pure bullshit.

    Hear my warnings, unbelievers. We have raised altars in this land so that we may sacrifice you to our gods. There is no hope in opposing the inevitable. Put down your arms, unbelievers, and bow before the forces of Chaos!
  • SheepSheep Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Probably can't get out of it. Do you know if they had a specialist to monitor you while you were "sedated"?

    My mother worked as a dental hygienist. Every time I was ever sedated they used Novocaine and gas.

    You can probably keep (rightfully) contesting it but you're probably not gonna get far.

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  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    A common tactic. A lot of people mistake sedation for anesthesia - but they are totally different.

    You can request an itemized bill for how much they are charging for the mediciation vs the nurse time to watch your heart monitor. If you really want to argue the point, I'd recommend the following:

    They gave you two valium pills (probably 10 mg) the day before...if you slept on it and came in the next morning, thats 8+ hours. The anxiolytic effect would have worn off by then - making the pills totally useless for the proceedure.
    As for the solution... what was in it? If all they gave you was a cap full of Benadryl then you should be paying about a dollar for the medicine.

  • naporeonnaporeon Registered User regular
    WildEEP wrote:
    A common tactic. A lot of people mistake sedation for anesthesia - but they are totally different.

    In my understanding, this is absolutely correct. IANAL, but while I would definitely recommend contesting it as vigorously as you like, I don't think you have a legal argument.

  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    I have been given both options before, general anesthesia and was quotes about $400(3-4 years ago) and an oral sedative to be taken the morning of the procedure for about $80. I chose the latter and was intermittently unconscious or close to it, and the rest of the time was so far gone that it was just as good as being unconscious, and this effect was in line with how it was described beforehand.

    It does actually seem to me like the base charge itself, is drastically out of line with what the standard would be, but I don't know if there is any recourse for charges that fall so far from the standard.

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  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    naporeon wrote:
    WildEEP wrote:
    A common tactic. A lot of people mistake sedation for anesthesia - but they are totally different.

    In my understanding, this is absolutely correct. IANAL, but while I would definitely recommend contesting it as vigorously as you like, I don't think you have a legal argument.

    I am talking to a lawyer now; waiting for him to call me back.
    I asked the dentist to send me an itemized bill.
    Specifically, what procedures I have had done, their cost, how much insurance covered, how much I spent in FSA, and how much I paid out of pocket.

    I got a panicked call back saying "We, uhhh... we just... want to talk to you before you call Flexible Spending. We need to make sure we're on the same page here."

    Uh huh.
    I asked for the list because I did some math last night and am short about $2500 from what they charged total to what I am paying.
    I have a feeling they're freaking out realizing they could get some fraud charges.

    tl;dr RESEARCH PEOPLE ON YELP FIRST. Taking a coworker's recommendation on faith was a bad, bad idea. :\

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  • SeptusSeptus Registered User regular
    Also, consider getting a subscription to Angie's List. It seems pretty cheap, for having a good resource at hand to track well reviewed doctors etc.

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  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    I hope you tell your coworker of the shenanigans.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • DrAlleconDrAllecon Registered User regular
    I got a panicked call back saying "We, uhhh... we just... want to talk to you before you call Flexible Spending. We need to make sure we're on the same page here."

    Uh huh.
    I asked for the list because I did some math last night and am short about $2500 from what they charged total to what I am paying.
    I have a feeling they're freaking out realizing they could get some fraud charges.

    Wow, that's very serious. There should never be even a moment's hesitation when a patient asks for an itemized bill. A reference to "making sure we're on the same page" is an absurdly large red flag. Good luck, and I'm glad you contacted a lawyer because this does not sound right at all.

    Not so much the sedation part, since that is a pretty broad term that can cover simple medication (although lame, not necessarily illegal) but to balk at an itemized bill suggests that they likely have been skating pretty close to fraud if not flat out committing it.

  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    Skoal Cat wrote:
    I hope you tell your coworker of the shenanigans.

    Yes, they've all said once I get it straightened out to let them know.

    The bigger problem is I have 5 temporary crowns on.
    The full ones are due to be cemented on Jan 5.
    I am really worried about going back, but I can't keep these on for long, they're not meant to be permanent.

    I definitely want to know what to do beforehand, but think I have no choice but to go back to get these on.
    At least, I've paid for them (perhaps too much), so at least that should be fixed.

    I just want to make sure I have some idea of what to do with the rest of the thing.


    @DrAllecon Yeah, that was my thought too. It should be simple; the fact they're wanting to talk first made me realize I needed to call my lawyer immediately.

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  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    Septus wrote:
    Also, consider getting a subscription to Angie's List. It seems pretty cheap, for having a good resource at hand to track well reviewed doctors etc.

    I will check this out, thank you!

    I was also advised to check in to Yelp, then write a very in-depth review (once I don't need to go back there again, of course)

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  • Regina FongRegina Fong Allons-y, Alonso Registered User regular
    $500 is reasonable (in California) for full sedation.

    What they did for you was not full sedation. Examine the paperwork you signed closely. If they offered something they didn't deliver, contest it. If, however, you 'got what you agreed to pay for' you are probably screwed.

  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    Any other dentist should be able to finish this one's work

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Yeah, seriously, just make an appointment with someone else. The temp crowns will last that long; although you're supposed to get them taken care of ASAP, they should easily last you a month or two, as in however long it takes you to get this stuff done at another dentist, so don't worry about that. Do not let these people touch your mouth again. That's just asking for extra trouble.

    Essee on
  • DraygoDraygo Registered User regular
    Have your let your insurance company in on all this? They might be able to help you a lot more, considering they have the ability to withhold their payment to that office. I dont know exactly what they will be able to do to at least get you a partial refund. But do try to be fair here they did perform the procedure, and assuming they didnt fuck up your temp crowns should be properly reimbursed for that in the end.

    If were only talking about the 500$ sedation charge, they might itemize that, claim 400$ of it was the nurse and just give you 100$. How much is your lawyer charging you? 450$?

  • hamdingershamdingers Registered User regular
    Not to add to the problem - but are you sure you needed 5 crowns? That seems like a lot in one year unless you hadn't gone to the dentist in a LONG time.

    When they attempt to bill your insurance company for the work, if their x-rays do not justify the crowns they insurance company will not pay and that cost will defer back to you. You might want to check with your insurance on that to see if they've gotten the claims yet.

  • WildEEPWildEEP Registered User regular
    The second they told you that they wanted to talk when you asked for an itemized bill confirms that its a shifty, "fly-by night" operation.
    They're not going to get into legal trouble - they'll just cook your bill so that it reads legitimately. Odds are you are going to get a markdown on what they're charging because, at the end of the day, 500 bucks isnt worth 40 hours of argument.

    I wouldn't recommend you use their service anymore, but pay them their money owed and find a new dentist. Explain the situation and ask them to get in you as soon as possible to replace the temporary crowns.


  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    WildEEP wrote:
    The second they told you that they wanted to talk when you asked for an itemized bill confirms that its a shifty, "fly-by night" operation.
    They're not going to get into legal trouble - they'll just cook your bill so that it reads legitimately. Odds are you are going to get a markdown on what they're charging because, at the end of the day, 500 bucks isnt worth 40 hours of argument.

    I wouldn't recommend you use their service anymore, but pay them their money owed and find a new dentist. Explain the situation and ask them to get in you as soon as possible to replace the temporary crowns.


    They're claiming I owe $10,500 total.
    The $500 is simply for the sedation. If it was only 500 I wouldn't argue.
    As I mentioned, there's about $2500 total that isn't accounted for.

    And no, they can't jsut "cook the bill" because I signed various papers, I will expect to get those copies.


    As far as lawyer cost, currently nothing, because I am a member of a legal network through work.
    I may have to pay something if it requires extra work, but for now it hasn't cost me anything.


    hamdingers wrote:
    Not to add to the problem - but are you sure you needed 5 crowns? That seems like a lot in one year unless you hadn't gone to the dentist in a LONG time.

    When they attempt to bill your insurance company for the work, if their x-rays do not justify the crowns they insurance company will not pay and that cost will defer back to you. You might want to check with your insurance on that to see if they've gotten the claims yet.

    This makes me want to rant about the insurance industry again. How is it MY fault if my dentist reads the X-rays wrong, deliberately or not?
    Seems like that's the very definition of malpractice.

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  • tardcoretardcore Registered User regular
    Before all major, expensive procedures, always ask for an itemized list detailing what they are going to do and what each part of it costs. Do not agree to any procedure before you look over and sign off on what they told you they are going to do at what price. If they find something they need to do differently while working on a tooth, they'll usually stop and tell you. At least honest, good Dentists will.

  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    The bigger problem is I have 5 temporary crowns on.
    The full ones are due to be cemented on Jan 5.
    I am really worried about going back, but I can't keep these on for long, they're not meant to be permanent.

    I definitely want to know what to do beforehand, but think I have no choice but to go back to get these on.
    At least, I've paid for them (perhaps too much), so at least that should be fixed.

    Woah, woah, woah.

    Do not go back to this dentist to complete your crowns. Go to another dentist. If they play fast and loose with their clients' wallets, they will probably play fast and loose with their health, too.

    It sucks that youve already paid them for the procedure, but you probably don't want to add shitty dental work that broke your teeth to the list of issues you had with their office. Cut your losses.

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  • Brooklyn.NickBrooklyn.Nick Registered User
    Updates? Browsed, found this, and it got me all hot and bothered. Definitely agree with Tardcore:
    tardcore wrote:
    Before all major, expensive procedures, always ask for an itemized list detailing what they are going to do and what each part of it costs. Do not agree to any procedure before you look over and sign off on what they told you they are going to do at what price. If they find something they need to do differently while working on a tooth, they'll usually stop and tell you. At least honest, good Dentists will.

    It's absolutely worth paying more money to have proper medical care. I had my radial head replaced by a doctor at NYU. Insurance has been like wrestling a rapist; the hospital care, staff, and surgeon gave me great care and made it easier to maximize/handle my insurance payouts.

    Look, I never had a dream in my life, 'cause a dream is what you wanna do and still haven't pursued; I knew what I wanted and did it 'til it was done, so I've been the dream that I wanted to be since day one.
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  • FandyienFandyien But Otto, what about us? Registered User regular
    Nevs, bro, i'm not reccomending you do this by any means, but don't be too worried about temp crowns. i kept one on for i think a year or so because i forgot i had to go back, and it was fine that whole time, though when it did fail, it failed somewhat spectacularly

    what i'm saying is if you want to find another less horrible dentist and can't find one to do the procedure before the fifth or whenever you're due to get permanent ones don't freak or nothin

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  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    neville wrote:
    naporeon wrote:
    WildEEP wrote:
    A common tactic. A lot of people mistake sedation for anesthesia - but they are totally different.

    In my understanding, this is absolutely correct. IANAL, but while I would definitely recommend contesting it as vigorously as you like, I don't think you have a legal argument.

    I am talking to a lawyer now; waiting for him to call me back.
    I asked the dentist to send me an itemized bill.
    Specifically, what procedures I have had done, their cost, how much insurance covered, how much I spent in FSA, and how much I paid out of pocket.

    I got a panicked call back saying "We, uhhh... we just... want to talk to you before you call Flexible Spending. We need to make sure we're on the same page here."

    Uh huh.
    I asked for the list because I did some math last night and am short about $2500 from what they charged total to what I am paying.
    I have a feeling they're freaking out realizing they could get some fraud charges.

    tl;dr RESEARCH PEOPLE ON YELP FIRST. Taking a coworker's recommendation on faith was a bad, bad idea. :\

    Yelp is pretty much useless for professions like dentistry, as customers have no idea what good dentistry looks like. Your best bet is to ask for a referral from someone else in the field, probably a specialist. If you don't know any specialists, call up the highest yelp-rated orthodontist in your area (in this case, all yelp is for is ensuring that he's honest) and ask him for the name of a good general practitioner (or other specialist).

  • ASimPersonASimPerson Cold... and hard.Registered User regular
    While we're on the subject, what's the best resource for finding a dentist? This thread is a great example of what I'm afraid will happen to be based on looking at Yelp reviews of dentists.

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  • BagginsesBagginses __BANNED USERS regular
    ASimPerson wrote:
    While we're on the subject, what's the best resource for finding a dentist? This thread is a great example of what I'm afraid will happen to be based on looking at Yelp reviews of dentists.

    People move around a lot, so you could try asking your current/old dentist if he has any patients from the area you're moving to. If you're close enough, he may actually ask around to see if any of the specialists he knows have seen any good work.

  • DiannaoChongDiannaoChong Registered User regular
    edited December 2011
    I have seen alot of medical billing systems, and had coworkers who ran/built/maintained them. there awful. When they stall for time to make an itemized bill, it could very well be because their software doesnt allow them to create one, and they are tracking everything down and doing it by hand. That is not your problem though. I am merely stating that it does happen. and I have seen its kind of common. If they are legit and everything is on the up and up, they may just be looking to see if they can answer a quick question and dont have to go to the hard effort of putting an itemized bill together.

    Accuracy of medical bills withstanding, always ask for an itemized bill.

    DiannaoChong on
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  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Paranoiac Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    edited December 2011
    Bagginses wrote:
    Yelp is pretty much useless for professions like dentistry, as customers have no idea what good dentistry looks like. Your best bet is to ask for a referral from someone else in the field, probably a specialist. If you don't know any specialists, call up the highest yelp-rated orthodontist in your area (in this case, all yelp is for is ensuring that he's honest) and ask him for the name of a good general practitioner (or other specialist).

    Not completely true. I found my dentist through Yelp, it was made easier because he is a teacher at both the dental schools in the area (UoP and UCSF), and he has students that are now Dentists that have reviewed him on his Yelp page saying they still go to him for their dental work. He is super rad, when I initially went in for a consultation he never charged me, remembered me 8 months later when I went in for actual work, calls me the day after whenever I have anything done to make sure I'm alright, has referred me to an amazing Endodontist and Oral Surgeon. He's also always been super up front about what he's doing, what I'm going to be charged, pros and cons for different procedures.

    If nothing else, if you read the bad reviews on Yelp you can get a pretty good idea of who not to go to. For instance, my girlfriend's family dentist has some real horror stories about him fucking up fillings in a fashion that led to damage to the root and telling his patients that it was "just a little bit irritated" when he nicked/infected it and they ended up having to get a root canal.

    Giggles_Funsworth on
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  • XArchangelXXArchangelX Registered User regular
    Yeah, always always shop around. For medical stuff that can wait a few days and isn't at an emergency, go get a few different opinions from other Dentists. Be careful with stuff like Yelp and recommendations from friends. Maybe they went there for just a cleaning and had a fantastic time, whereas you're going for something major.

    I am guessing that you won't be able to do anything about the stupid $500 sedation. If there's one thing all Doctor types are super Pro at, it's covering their ass. They get sued often, for vast amounts, on the regular.

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  • ASimPersonASimPerson Cold... and hard.Registered User regular
    Bagginses wrote:
    Yelp is pretty much useless for professions like dentistry, as customers have no idea what good dentistry looks like. Your best bet is to ask for a referral from someone else in the field, probably a specialist. If you don't know any specialists, call up the highest yelp-rated orthodontist in your area (in this case, all yelp is for is ensuring that he's honest) and ask him for the name of a good general practitioner (or other specialist).

    Not completely true. I found my dentist through Yelp, it was made easier because he is a teacher at both the dental schools in the area (UoP and UCSF), and he has students that are now Dentists that have reviewed him on his Yelp page saying they still go to him for their dental work. He is super rad, when I initially went in for a consultation he never charged me, remembered me 8 months later when I went in for actual work, calls me the day after whenever I have anything done to make sure I'm alright, has referred me to an amazing Endodontist and Oral Surgeon. He's also always been super up front about what he's doing, what I'm going to be charged, pros and cons for different procedures.

    If nothing else, if you read the bad reviews on Yelp you can get a pretty good idea of who not to go to. For instance, my girlfriend's family dentist has some real horror stories about him fucking up fillings in a fashion that led to damage to the root and telling his patients that it was "just a little bit irritated" when he nicked/infected it and they ended up having to get a root canal.

    Funnily enough, I am in the Bay Area...

    I had a problem with Yelp because all the reviews were either super-positive or super-negative, and there weren't really that many of them. The whole thing is just really frustrating.

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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    I actually do know of a way not to get out of paying but to get your bills down. Call up your insurance and ask for them to advocate on your behalf. Ask your insurance company if they have a deal with the dentist so that they can't charge you that much and see if your insurance company can get your dentist to bring down the costs on your behalf. It may be that you need to talk to a supervisor, but be nice this is a courtesy your insurance company doesn't have to do this for you, but I have had them do it for me.

    Also ask about a discount for paying immediately. Your going to have to pay something, but you may only have to pay a percentage of it.

    And you should get a different dentist. I don't know of much dental work that costs 9k, and 500 for anesthesia is pretty ridiculous. I mean unless it was massive reconstruction. I know a guy who wracked up a 15k bill but he got hit in the face with steel beam and required surgery and implants, and he was under for 7 hours, and some follow up visits. 9k for some crown work, how many crowns did you have done?

  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    zepherin wrote:
    I actually do know of a way not to get out of paying but to get your bills down. Call up your insurance and ask for them to advocate on your behalf. Ask your insurance company if they have a deal with the dentist so that they can't charge you that much and see if your insurance company can get your dentist to bring down the costs on your behalf. It may be that you need to talk to a supervisor, but be nice this is a courtesy your insurance company doesn't have to do this for you, but I have had them do it for me.

    Also ask about a discount for paying immediately. Your going to have to pay something, but you may only have to pay a percentage of it.

    And you should get a different dentist. I don't know of much dental work that costs 9k, and 500 for anesthesia is pretty ridiculous. I mean unless it was massive reconstruction. I know a guy who wracked up a 15k bill but he got hit in the face with steel beam and required surgery and implants, and he was under for 7 hours, and some follow up visits. 9k for some crown work, how many crowns did you have done?

    This is interesting; I'll definitely look into this.

    They did 5 crowns. I only agreed to 3 ahead of time. The other 2 were done when I was on the sedation, which I'm fairly certain isn't legal.

    @Fandyien I would tend to agree, however, one of the teeth that was crowned is in EXCRUCIATING PAIN whenever anything of temperature hits it. Even lukewarm water is really bad.
    It was like this before the crown and they did it "to help it" but clearly it either needs a root canal or something else is wrong.

    So I don't really want to wait around. But yeah, I have a dentist a number of people here recommended, so I will definitely be talking to them ASAP and find out what they think of my situation.

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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    neville wrote:
    This is interesting; I'll definitely look into this.

    They did 5 crowns. I only agreed to 3 ahead of time. The other 2 were done when I was on the sedation, which I'm fairly certain isn't legal.

    @Fandyien I would tend to agree, however, one of the teeth that was crowned is in EXCRUCIATING PAIN whenever anything of temperature hits it. Even lukewarm water is really bad.
    It was like this before the crown and they did it "to help it" but clearly it either needs a root canal or something else is wrong.

    So I don't really want to wait around. But yeah, I have a dentist a number of people here recommended, so I will definitely be talking to them ASAP and find out what they think of my situation.
    And really the worst thing that will happen is the insurance company or dentist tells you no. I've had two insurance companies work on my behalf over payment disputes one I got a discount the other I did not, but it never hurts to ask.

  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    Update:
    Talked to my new dentist who said I should definitely NOT go back to the old dentist at all.
    If I don't go back, the old dentist can return the permanent crowns and get their money back, so they won't charge for that.

    They had my X-rays sent over and I'm seeing them tomorrow.
    The old dentist's office was very rude when they called with the request and ended up hanging up.
    A good sign I'm moving I guess? :)

    The new dentist said after looking at the X-rays, if it looks like anything done wasn't needed, they can help build a case for the insurance claim/fraud.
    Hopefully tomorrow will have good news!

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  • zepherinzepherin Registered User regular
    neville wrote:
    Update:
    The new dentist said after looking at the X-rays, if it looks like anything done wasn't needed, they can help build a case for the insurance claim/fraud.
    Hopefully tomorrow will have good news!
    Oh I didn't even think fraud, yeah your insurance company will definitely help with that.

  • nevilleneville The Worst Gay (Seriously. The Worst!)Registered User regular
    zepherin wrote:
    neville wrote:
    Update:
    The new dentist said after looking at the X-rays, if it looks like anything done wasn't needed, they can help build a case for the insurance claim/fraud.
    Hopefully tomorrow will have good news!
    Oh I didn't even think fraud, yeah your insurance company will definitely help with that.

    Yeah, they told me most of the things "weren't covered."
    And one was a mouth guard for $500.
    I get my insurance thingy a week ago that says the dentist billed them $800 for it.
    I think "Odd... they said it wasn't covered. So why bill them?"

    Weirder still was my insurance DID pay all of it except $94.
    So why was I charged $500 instead of $94?
    HMMM!


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  • PeccaviPeccavi oh... oh my!Registered User regular
    Wow, that office better burn.

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