Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh has reached a settlement with Batz-Weiner Lake Dental, a dental practice in Laurel, to resolve allegations of violations of the Consumer Protection Act. The Consumer Protection Division alleged that the practice overbilled consumers and did not provide them with accurate information about expected charges.
According to the Consumer Protection Division, the practice failed to submit timely and accurate insurance claims and then billed consumers for amounts that would have been covered by insurance had claims been properly submitted.
The Consumer Protection Division also alleges that the practice failed to account for payments received, resulting in sending bills for amounts that had already been paid, and provided pre-treatment estimates that did not include all anticipated changes.
Plus, the practice failed to tell patients that services would be provided by individuals who were not in-network with the consumer’s insurance plan and engaged in other violations of the Consumer Protection Act, the Consumer Protection Division said.
“Today’s settlement will help prevent overbilling of patients and allow patients to make informed decisions about their own dental care and treatment,” said Frosh.
Under the settlement, the practice will waive all currently outstanding charges for services provided from January 1, 2014, through March 3, 2016. It also will notify customers who may have been overcharged that they may request a review of their accounts.
Batz-Weiner also will pay $48,000 in penalties and investigative costs and make changes to its billing process intended to prevent billing errors in the future, including:
- Employing a third-party biller or ensuring that its staff is trained in billing and coding
- Not seeking to collect from consumers while insurance claims are pending
- Providing timely bills to consumers that specify the dates, services rendered, and insurance payment information
- Providing accurate pre-treatment estimates, including all follow-up exams and imaging
- Notifying consumers when making appointments and again before treatment is rendered if the practitioner with whom they are scheduled does not participate in the consumer’s insurance plan
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