Monthly Archives: April 2012

Medical and dental bills: persistence pays off

When you think of doctors and dentists, you probably think of yourself as a patient, not a customer. In reality, you are both. Just as you would at a grocery or department store, it is fair to expect good customer service from your medical providers. This includes the providers’ office staff and billing departments. Being diligent in reviewing bills from your doctor or dentist can save you money.

I recently received a bill from my dentist for $54 that did not reflect any payments from my insurance company. The bill included a note that said the claim had been rejected by the insurance company. When I called the dentist’s office and asked why the claim was rejected, the office representative said she couldn’t tell from the documentation she had.

In checking my records, I found no explanation of benefits from my insurance company for that office visit–that’s the form the company sends that shows the treatment you received, how much your insurance coverage paid on the claim and how much you still owe. When I called the company, I found out they’d never received a claim from my dentist’s office for the date in question. So I called the dentist’s office back, relayed this information and asked the staff to file the claim again.

Today, the results arrived in the mail, in the form of an explanation of benefits (EOB) statement from my dental insurer. The company paid most of the claim, and I only owe about $11. That means I saved $33 over what I would have paid if I had not been persistent enough to find out whether my claim was actually filed and to make sure it got submitted.

When it comes to claims and billing, don’t take the word of your doctor’s office staff without verifying the facts for yourself. Use your EOB statement to make sure you don’t overpay for medical and dental services. If a claim truly is denied, ask the insurer’s customer service staff how you can appeal the decision.

Have you had a successful experience in fighting an insurance claim denial? Share your tips to help others.

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Filed under Customer service, Saving money

TripAdvisor helps you find customer-focused hotels and restaurants

My husband and I recently traveled to Nashville, Tennessee for a business training event he needed to attend. We went a day early to have some extra time for sightseeing. I haven’t been to Music City in years, so I was unsure which hotels and restaurants in our price range would deliver a good experience.

In circumstances like these, I recommend TripAdvisor. This website features travelers’ reviews that help you determine which tourism-related businesses care about their customers. Review a few pages of comments on the hotels you’re considering, and look for trends in the reviews. If several customers say the hotel is noisy or its breakfast is great, factor those remarks into your lodging selection. A hotel that may have been great a year ago could have gone downhill since then, so pay close attention to the dates of the reviews. You can get reservation price quotes from hotel websites and multiple other sources directly from a TripAdvisor hotel review page like this one.

TripAdvisor’s resources don’t end with reviews of places to stay. You can also find comments on restaurants and tourist attractions such as museums, zoos and tours.

TripAdvisor users rate hotels, restaurants and attractions on a scale of one to five, with higher numbers reflecting more positive feedback. The website combines the scores to rank locations from the most to least popular for each city.

I’ve used TripAdvisor to plan numerous vacations and found it to be a reliable source of information. Occasionally, I do disagree with other customers’ ratings; this happens most often with restaurant reviews.

Be sure to add your own feedback to TripAdvisor after your vacation. This helps keep information current and scores more accurate. You may also want to rank restaurants and attractions in the town where you live.

Are you a TripAdvisor user? If not, what’s your go-to source for trip-planning information?

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Check out this week’s promo codes and online deals

Web shoppers can take advantage of several sales and discounts this week:

Use promo code L9P9M4A to get 15 percent off one item at Barnes & Noble through April 8.

Enter code “BLUESKY” to add a 15 percent discount to your total purchase at Meijer.

Take 20 percent off your purchase at Kohl’s with promo code “SPRING2SAVE.”

Get 26 percent cash back on Magazines.com purchases when you shop through Ebates.com. Other Ebates deals this week include 15 percent off Easter bouquets from Teleflora, along with 20 percent cash back. Use code “Ebatesae112” to take 40 percent off one item at Joann’s fabric and craft store, plus get 5 percent cash back by starting your shopping at the Ebates website.

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Filed under Cheap and free stuff, Saving money