A woman was telling me about her recent visit to a new dentist who wanted her to have a full set of x-rays. She felt the x-rays weren’t necessary because it hadn’t been too long since her last set, and she wasn’t experiencing any pain or particular concerns. She requested to have her teeth cleaned only.
A few weeks later she received a bill from the dentist that showed her portion of the payment due. As she reviewed her bill, she found a charge for x-rays—the x-rays that she never had. She called the dentist’s office right away and asked them to correct the bill. They checked her records, verified the services she had actually received and a few days later she received a new bill with the proper dental work reflected.
This happens. It’s not necessarily that the doctor’s office is trying to pull one over on you, but mistakes happen. That’s why it is important to always review your medical bills (or any bills, for that matter) carefully. Make sure that the services you are being charged for are the services that you received.
Most bills will have a breakdown that shows exactly what is being charged: the service or medication administered, the cost, and how much your insurance covered, and how much is left (if any) for you to pay. If you don’t receive an itemized bill, you can call the doctor’s office and ask for one. You’ll usually receive it within a few days.
Why errors like these happen is hard to say. It could be that the dentist office mentioned above simply printed up their standard “new patient” services bill, not realizing that she had declined some of the typical new patient services. The woman handled the situation exactly as she should have. It was irritating, but easily fixed.
Make sure that you and your insurance company aren’t paying for more than you received. Read your medical bills when they arrive to check for discrepancies.