Can You Help Me Pay My Bill?

Today a patient called and told me his story, and then he asked for some charity.

This is his story.

Mr. Patient

Mr. Patient quit his job; when he gave his notice, they told him not to come back, there was no need to work his two week notice period. He told me that his former employer told him that they would pay him for the two weeks. He was OK with this, he said, he did not like to work there anyway.

Mr. Patient assumed that his insurance would be valid until the end of the month (because they offered to pay him), so he came to his dental appointment which was already prescheduled for the afternoon of the same day that he had quit.

Mr. Patient’s teeth were cleaned, and the claim was submitted to the insurance company, and of course, it was denied. Our office sent him a bill in the mail which led him to make this call.

Mr. Patient explained that his former employer had cut his insurance as of the day that he quit. So even though he knew it was not our problem, he wanted to ask us to eat this balance or at least help him pay it. He felt it was fair to ask for help, because nobody had told him that his insurance would be terminated the day that he quit.

Mr. Patient went to say, what a faithful and loyal patient that he was. He said that he would continue to be one, if we could help him and write off his balance due.  I paused for a moment, to compose myself, and suppress my laughter, I told him to call his work and ask them why they never offered him COBRA. To that, he replied, “I think they may have sent me a letter”… after I paused again to compose myself, so I would not blurt out… HOW IRRESPONSIBLE ARE YOU?  I told him to call and see if he could still apply for Cobra insurance. I asked him to call and find out why his insurance was cut off on the day that he quit, buying myself some time before I had to deal with his question.

The next day, he called again and said. “They will not help me; I need you to write off the balance.” I explained to Mr. Patient that I needed to discuss this with the Doctor, and I would call him back. I mentioned this to the Doctor, who just looked at me with a confused look on his face. He was busy and said, “let me think about it.” This is where the story ends; the Doctor has not made his decision and quite frankly, I am sure that he just moved on with his busy day. I am betting that he has not even given it a second thought.

I know that regardless of the Doctor’s decision; the reality is that we are not going to get paid, so I am in no hurry to push Doc for an answer.

But…. Nomi is wondering, what would YOU do?

With your success in mind, 



  1. TheDentalWarrior | | Reply

    “They will not help me. I need you to help me pay the balance.”

    I need YOU to find another (chump) dentist who will work for free.

    Sounds about right to me.

    Amazing the entitlement and victim mentality that pervades our society. This…. ummmm… person… (I’m being nice on your blog)… QUIT his job and wants sympathy? For a freakin’ cleaning??? How much did he spend on beer to celebrate his newly-and-voluntarily-unemployed status? I bet it was more than his prophy cost. Schmuck. Oops! Did I let that one slip out? 😉

  2. The bill is the full responsibility of the patient. He received services and your office should be paid for them and its a lot of nerve asking that the balance be written off. Would he expect to go to the food store and take a bag of groceries and ask them to write it off because hes unemployed but has been a loyal shopper at that store? No!

  3. Bruce McClellan | | Reply

    I guess all businesses deal with this same issue. One of my businesses provides computer equipment and software to retail businesses. We have clients who refuse to renew their annual support agreements, call us when something goes wrong and expect that we will help them for free. The say things like “Come on. You know how hard times are now with the economy.”

    In the Nomi’s case I would suggest telling the patient that you understand his issues. Tell him that you are certainly willing to work with him. Give him the option of making smaller payments over time. But certainly make sure he understands that he MUST pay the bill.


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