, , , , ,

Hello! WP fellow travelers! I am here to share my 637 wins with you all.

I have trouble standing up for myself. This issue has been front and center in a battle with a questionable dentist.

In February I had oral surgery for two dental implants. I verified that the dentist was in-network with both the insurance company and the dental office,  I verified the estimate best I could with my insurance and further negotiated the charges.

I explained my financial limitations, how I would be paying for it – a combination of flexible spending and insurance, and that I could not carry credit card debt. I did the math to the dollar. This is critical to living within one’s means which is critical to living in recovery.

The dentist initially stated that the office would not submit to insurance, that I had to pay up front, then submit myself. This, then did require a line of credit. This is scary to someone who has been in credit card hell.

This entire thing is hinky, but I am sticking to the money part in this post. Against my better thinking;  I paid him in full, or so I thought, at the time of the surgery, or so I thought, and waited for my insurance money to cover the credit card bill.

As it rolled out, he got all my flex spending, hit the credit line, and got paid by the insurance company.

This is not unusual, just that the way it was done was inappropriate, he is not being transparent, and he refused to give me the excess money to pay the credit account. I even missed one payment because I was unaware of this lender’s process, my bad, but this the short version. I did pay the credit bill when I found out, thus throwing off my already tight personal budget.

Another wrinkle is that he is not honoring his contract with my insurance company. I have my explanation of benefits so I know he has over charged me by $682.

I am  very good at research, keeping records and knowing how dental/medical processes work.

I completely suck at standing up for myself.  I stink at not panicking when it comes to money. I also have almost no negotiating skills when it comes to complex, mulit-partied, lots of money, kinds of situations. But I do have friends.

A friend of mine is a finance guy. He came over and made a spreadsheet which he then morphed into an understandable document that anyone could understand. With that as my template, and his constant guidance, I was able to make and execute a plan to retrieve part of the insurance money.

I won by doing good homework, monitoring my insurance account online, calling the insurance company weekly, knowing my rights, and enforcing dental billing rules. I retrieved $637 by turning to someone smarter than me when it comes to numbers. I was confident in my instance of being treated fairly because the insurance company validated my concerns.

Through my friend’s guidance, I know that this is just part one of a multi-part negotiation of finishing my dental work yet not being taken advantage of by the dentist. This will be a delicate dance of getting what I want for my smile, while protecting my pocket book, my recovery.

To wins of all sizes! Cheers!