debt

Don't let bill errors empty your wallet

Medical claim errors
Medical claim errors © CandyBox Images/Shutterstock.com

When Ann Staples moved to suburban Charlotte, N.C., she decided to find a local dentist. After a routine cleaning and filling, Staples was surprised to get her dental insurance statement showing that although she didn't owe any money, the two procedures had emptied her dental spending account. "I was shocked," she says.

Staples called her health insurance company. "I said, 'I know it's been a long time since I had a cavity, but the price has gone up,'" she says. The insurance representative told her the coding showed she got two implants.

When questioned by the insurance rep, the dentist's staff said the charge was an error. Staples thinks otherwise and so does the insurance rep. "I think I walked in the door at a new dentist, they found out what I had in my dental account, found codes to match it and cleaned it out," she says. The insurance rep told Staples most people don't read their statements, especially if they don't owe any money. "He thanked me and said if more people did this, it would save the country a ton of money," she says.

Takeaway: Read your health insurance explanation of benefits, or EOB, statements even if you don't owe money.

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