Dental Debt Collection

by DebtCollectionAnswers.com

Dental Bills in Collections

Dental Bills in Collections

Dental bills can be very expensive, totaling hundreds--or even thousands--of dollars. If they are turned over to a collection agency your credit reports and credit scores can be damaged significantly, and the amounts may even grow if interest and/or fees are added on. Here you’ll find answers to questions from our readers about debts incurred at dentist’s offices.

If you already have a collection account on your credit report due to one of these bills, please see our page that explains what you can do about collections accounts on credit reports.

Click here to post comments

Return to Medical Debt Collection Questions.

Do I have to pay for my Ex wife's dental bill?

by Melissa
(El Monte CA )

My ex (or soon to be) wife are going through a divorce. She filed for divorce on October. Now March, I received a bill from her dentist, addressed to me, saying she owed 187.00. We live in California and she was listed as a dependant on my dental insurance plan. Will this unpaid dental bill come back to me since she was on my insurance? I did not receive services from the dentist, she did. The divorce won't be final until the end of April.

Comments for Do I have to pay for my Ex wife's dental bill?

Click here to add your own comments

May 11, 2012
Do I have to pay for my Ex wife's dental bill?
by: Debtcollectionanswers.com

It sounds like at the time your now ex-wife incurred the medical debt, you were still married and living in a community property state. In a community property state, creditors can look to community property of the couple to pay debts incurred while they were married. Therefore, you may ultimately responsible for the dentist bill if she does not pay it. However, you may want to try to negotiate a deal with the collector to have it removed from your credit reports if you resolve it since you had no way of knowing about it before.


Click here to add your own comments

Return to Medical Debt Collection Questions.

Dental bill after insurance expired

by Zen
(Utah)

Dentist estimate shows wrong expiration date and accept the service after the actual expiration date.

1: Is that totally my fault?

My parents' family insurance plan dropped me out at my birthday Nov 26 2010, but I didn't know it and we all assume it will expires at Dec 31. When I visit the dentist at Nov 2010, he persuades me for a service about $800 and print out the estimation which shows my insurance will expire at 12/31. According to the estimation shows, I scheduled and accept this service at Dec 23. A few weeks later, insurance company inform us about the date issue and reject the bill.

My friend says it is totally my fault and I have no hope to argue the liability about that, even the dentist says my insurance will cover this and printed out the estimation with a wrong date. Is it true?

I still have the original estimation dentist showed me, and it shows my insurance will expire at 12/31/2010 with enough balance on it.

2: A huge difference of billing amount.

According to the receipt and estimation($90 +$819, regardless of the coverage), total number of the services will be around $1000. But the debt collection shows me a bill with $1400+ with $200+ interest. I cant understand where those 40% increase comes from.

Is there any regulation or upper limits applied on that?

3: It is already become a record on my credit report. What should I do if I want to minimize the impact on my credit report? The debt collection company don't want to remove it for me from 3 credit bureau.

The first one is a tough one. We know this is a really bad and expensive experience for you. Medical billing problems are generally a big pain.

But you probably signed something with the dental office stating that you would be responsible for any bills insurance didn't pay. The question you can ask yourself is what would happen if you took the dentist to small claims court? Do you think you could win? Or would the dentist pull out your paperwork and show that you signed something that said you'd pay what insurance didn't cover.

2. The amount of interest and extra charges the collection agency can tack on is a matter of state law and the contract. 25% sounds high but in many states it won't be illegal. You'll need to check with your state attorney general or a consumer law attorney to confirm. However, remember most collection bills can be negotiated. If you or our parents can come up with a smaller lump sum to settle the bill, then start your negotiations low and stick to your guns to see where you can get.

3. The collection agency technically is not supposed to agree to remove an account in exchange for payment. You can push hard with them and explain that you don't believe this is a valid bill in the first place. But it's generally hard to strike these kinds of deals. So you may wind up with both the bill and the collection account on your credit reports. The only other suggestion we have is to go back to the dentist and try to get them to take it back from collections in exchange for paying the bill. If they pull it back, you should be able to get it off your credit (no guarantees, but that's often the way it works).

So sorry you had to deal with this.

Click here to post comments

Return to Medical Debt Collection Questions.

Spouse Dental Bill on Credit Report

by Dineen
(St. Louis, MO)

My spouse is the primary card holder on our insurance, I am listed as a dependent. Can an outstanding dental bill for my husband be put on my credit report?

Comments for Spouse Dental Bill on Credit Report

Click here to add your own comments

May 02, 2015
Can your spouse's dental bill hurt your credit?
by: DebtCollectionAnswers.com

It's difficult to provide a straight answer to this question. In large part it depends on whether you can be held responsible for the bill. In some states, spouse's are responsible for their married partner's medical bills under state laws called "Doctrines of Necessaries," or something similar. These laws were enacted long ago, primarily to protect women so their husband's would have to pay for their essential care. In addition, if you live in a community property state, it is possible the provider could try to come after any joint property you own to satisfy the bill.

We would suggest you carefully monitor your credit reports to see if this shows up. If you wind up with a collection accounts on your credit reports, you may want to try to dispute it.

Mar 04, 2012
Spouse Dental Bill
by: Debtcollectionanswers

It should not be because you live in a separate property state and therefore you and your spouse are not legally liable for one another's debts. The exception would be if the debt were a joint debt or if one of you agreed to be legally responsible for the other's debt.

If your spouse's debt is showing up on your credit history, you should dispute that information with whichever credit reporting agency/ies are reporting it. If you are not able to get the information removed, contact a consumer law attorney in your area who helps consumer resolve credit reporting problems. Your first meeting should be free.



Click here to add your own comments

Return to Medical Debt Collection Questions.

Disputing Dental BIll

by Jenny
(IL)

I received a bill from the dentist that says I owe $729, I had never previously been billed or received an itemized list of services. I called the dentist to ask for all Explanation of benefits and a list of services. My total calculated for the 5 year period is $500. The dentist is refusing to listen to this. What are my options?

Comments for Disputing Dental BIll

Click here to add your own comments

May 02, 2015
Disputing a dental bill
by: DebtCollectionAnswers.com

There are two routes you can go here. One is to pay the bill to avoid a negative remark on your credit. The other is to dispute it. If you dispute it, do so in writing (send it certified mail) and include as much proof as you can. If there is a balance that you owe, it would be a good idea to pay it so that you have resolved what you consider to be the legitimate amount owed. If they turn the remaining balance over to collections, you can then dispute it with the collection agency. You possibly do risk a negative item on your credit reports, but it's also possible that the dentist will decide it is not worth it to pursue you for such a small amount. (Also - is there someone else in the office you can appeal to? If you are just dealing with the person who handles billing then perhaps the manager of the practice or the dentist will be willing to work with you.)

Mar 04, 2012
Disputing Dental BIll
by: Debtcollectionanswers

If you are certain that you only owe $500 and your dentist insists that you owe more, I would ask to schedule an in-person meeting with whomever is in charge of his billings so you can understand the discrepancy. When you call to make this request, be clear that you want to pay your bill, but that before you do, you want to understand why it's more than $500.

I would try to resolve your problem sooner rather than later because typically medical bills are payable at the time of service and so the longer you wait to pay your dentist the more likely it is that your bill will be turned over to collections, which will be damaging to your credit histories and your FICO scores. You may even be sued for the money.


Click here to add your own comments

Return to Medical Debt Collection Questions.

Learn how debt collection laws can help you!
This website does not provide legal advice.
All information is for educational purposes only.
Copyright 2007 - 2016 by Mary Reed and Gerri Detweiler.
All rights reserved.