Billing ethics question for dentists

Jul 1, 2022
My new dentist (like most) is out of network with insurance. In May I paid in full up front for a full mouth
RPS, done in two appts. They filed 2 claims. I was told when they received payment, they'd send
it on to me. I found this weird because the old dentist had insurance send refund directly to
me, but i figured this might have changed.

A few weeks later, I looked at my insurance portal - it said they'd sent a check to the dentist for
first of 2 claims three weeks ago. The second claim is pending. I emailed
dentist, asking when they planned to send refund. They said, oh, well we usually wait for all the
claims to come in before we refund, and also, oh darn, dentist is out of town for 2 more weeks,
so have to wait til he gets back to sign check.

Then they ask if I want 2nd claim check sent directly to me. Uh, yes, I did, and wondering if this is an
option, why are they collecting my refund and sitting on it? I assume they're doing this at scale, which allows a bunch of tiny interest sums to accumulate into real money.

So, dentists, is this common practice, and what is your opinion of it in terms of ethical/not ethical conduct? To be clear, the dentist was paid in full, I owed him nothing. All insurance funds were mine.

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