Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Metlife annoyance. Paging Martha...
Old 01-12-2008, 12:12 AM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SecondCor521's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boise
Posts: 2,402
Metlife annoyance. Paging Martha...

Hi all,

I received in the mail today two letters allegedly from Metlife asserting that they paid $246.00 to my kids' dentist after my dental coverage was terminated. These payment occurred in the spring of 2006. They're asking me to pay them back.

The letters do have the correct first names of two of my children. Even more interesting, they were mailed to me at my current address. I don't know how they got my current address, since I probably stopped using them as my dental insurance provider in the fall of 2005.

Am I obligated by law to pay them back? It seems like it was their error to pay a claim on someone who was not covered.

Even if morally I do owe them $246.00, I don't like that they screwed up a year and a half ago and are now coming to me to fix it. I also don't like the fact that they haven't really proven that I owe them this money, they're just saying I do. They don't have the name of the dentist listed, or the procedure, or any proof that they paid the dentist.

Opinions? Martha?

2Cor521
__________________

__________________
"At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough, and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may in fact be the first steps of a journey." Violet Baudelaire.
SecondCor521 is online now   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 01-12-2008, 01:05 AM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SecondCor521's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boise
Posts: 2,402
Additional comments:

If they did pay this amount, they certainly paid the dentist and not me. Shouldn't they seek reimbursement from the dentist?

Back then I was still married. If I am legally obligated somehow, isn't my ex somehow obligated for some portion? If so, what portion?

2Cor521
__________________

__________________
"At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough, and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may in fact be the first steps of a journey." Violet Baudelaire.
SecondCor521 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2008, 05:21 AM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
OAG's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Central, Ohio, USA
Posts: 2,598
I am not Martha but my thoughts FWTAW. Fishing expedition? Wonder if they did try to collect from the dentist and they could not so you were next on the list? Since it took them so long to wake up, maybe you should take a like period to respond. Having said that, doesn't dental insurance, unlike medical insurance, usually reimburse the patient after the patient, having paid the dentist, submits a claim, or have the claim submitted by the dentist? Any chance the check (if there was one) was cashed by someone you know or knew?
__________________
Vietnam Veteran, CW4 USA, Retired 1979
OAG is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2008, 08:10 AM   #4
Recycles dryer sheets
Culture's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 491
Does it matter if you are legally obligated? This seems pretty clear to me. If they paid something that you should have paid, your should pay the money back. If they paid something that you should not have paid, you do not. I would assume that you would know whether or not you took your kids to the dentist, and if you did whether or not you paid the bill. I your cannot remember with certainty, which I can understand given the time frame, ask them for backup.

Obviously, this is not a legal opinion, but I think, given the user name, you would understand about being responsible for your debts, if they are yours. If they are your debts, I agree the ex should pay half.
__________________
Culture is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2008, 08:29 AM   #5
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Not enough facts. They have the kids' names wrong so you can't be sure that they paid for dental work on your kids. I would want to know when the payment was made, what exactly for, and to whom. And then compare that with what the dentist's records show. But if they prove to you that they did pay, odds are you are obligated to pay them back. Even though the payment went to the dentist, it was for your children's benefit. Probably the dental insurance contract also requires repayment in these circumstances. Your ex may have the same obligation to pay them, Metlife won't care who repays. However, as between you and your spouse the divorce decree would govern who is responsible.

One issue may be a statute of limitations issue. I don't know the limitations period in your state for Metlife to sue to recover erroneous payments. Though if the payment was only a year and a half ago, there is a good chance that the statute of limitations has not expired.

Get more facts before you pay.

And don't forget my signature line.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2008, 08:59 AM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 8,616
So did your ex take the kids to a dentist and provide your old dental insurance information to that dentist?

Did you take your kids to a dentist and provide your old dental inurance information to that dentist?

Or did the dentist have that insurance information on file?
__________________
LOL! is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2008, 09:01 AM   #7
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,860
Well, I can tell that I am just a chump!! I would have paid them immediately upon receiving that letter.

Carry on....
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2008, 09:07 AM   #8
Moderator Emeritus
Martha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: minnesota
Posts: 13,212
Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
So did your ex take the kids to a dentist and provide your old dental insurance information to that dentist?

Did you take your kids to a dentist and provide your old dental inurance information to that dentist?

Or did the dentist have that insurance information on file?
Years ago we used to have dental insurance. It took about 4 years before the dentist would quit submitting claims to the company, even though we told them that we didn't have the insurance anymore.
__________________
.


No more lawyer stuff, no more political stuff, so no more CYA

Martha is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2008, 12:14 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
mickeyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: South Texas~29N/98W
Posts: 5,881
Quote:
Even if morally I do owe them $246.00, I don't like that they screwed up a year and a half ago and are now coming to me to fix it.
From my experience in the employee benefit arena, MetLife probably wrote to the dentist also and requested that he/she refund the $246.00 that was paid "in error." Most providers (dentist) will comply with a request like this as they do not want to get involved in any future claims problem with MetLife. So, you will owe the dentist the $246, not MetLife.

You may wish to contact the dentist to get his/her take on it. Also, you may choose to just sit tight and ignore the letter for now and expect more correspondence in the future.
__________________
Part-Owner of Texas

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

In dire need of: faster horses, younger woman, older whiskey, more money.
mickeyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-12-2008, 09:37 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
SecondCor521's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Boise
Posts: 2,402
Thanks to everyone who responded. Good advice from all, as usual.

Quote:
Originally Posted by R Wood View Post
I am not Martha but my thoughts FWTAW. Fishing expedition? Wonder if they did try to collect from the dentist and they could not so you were next on the list? Since it took them so long to wake up, maybe you should take a like period to respond. Having said that, doesn't dental insurance, unlike medical insurance, usually reimburse the patient after the patient, having paid the dentist, submits a claim, or have the claim submitted by the dentist? Any chance the check (if there was one) was cashed by someone you know or knew?
I don't know if they tried to collect from the dentist or not. I will certainly be calling the dentist and finding out their perspective on all this.

Even though I am annoyed at this, I will respond in a timely fashion. But I will expect more substantiation of the debt before I pay. If they are this incompetent -- to pay erroneously in the first place and then take nearly two years to find their error -- I don't trust them to be correct about the amount or that I do in fact owe them.

It has been my practice to go to the dentist, have them submit insurance, wait for insurance to pay the dentist, then wait for the dentist to bill us for the balance, then pay that in full as soon as we received the bill. Therefore, the most likely scenario is that they paid the dentist this money.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Culture View Post
Does it matter if you are legally obligated? This seems pretty clear to me. If they paid something that you should have paid, your should pay the money back. If they paid something that you should not have paid, you do not.
As you probably know, the law and ethics are two different realms which overlap. Both areas influence how I will proceed and whether or not I will repay them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Culture View Post
I would assume that you would know whether or not you took your kids to the dentist, and if you did whether or not you paid the bill. I your cannot remember with certainty, which I can understand given the time frame, ask them for backup.
My wife asked me for a divorce on February 6, 2006, a divorce which I did not want. The dates of service on the letters are 3/28/06 and 5/10/06. So no, I don't know if I took my kids to the dentist. I barely knew which way was up during that time frame.

You're right, given the time frame, I am certainly going to ask them and/or the dentist for more information. Interestingly, in my research last night, since this is the original creditor and not a debt collector I don't have any standing to ask for proof that I owe them this money. Although it is common sense that I could ask for it. This was part of why I was asking what the law said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Culture View Post
Obviously, this is not a legal opinion, but I think, given the user name, you would understand about being responsible for your debts, if they are yours. If they are your debts, I agree the ex should pay half.
Of course. I agree that my ex should pay half as well, since we did a 50/50 split in the divorce. Again I wonder if my ex refuses (I doubt she will), what legal recourse I would have there. Probably none other than small claims court or some sort of contempt of our divorce decree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
Not enough facts. They have the kids' names wrong so you can't be sure that they paid for dental work on your kids.
I think you misread. They do have the correct names of my children on the letters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
I would want to know when the payment was made, what exactly for, and to whom. And then compare that with what the dentist's records show. But if they prove to you that they did pay, odds are you are obligated to pay them back. Even though the payment went to the dentist, it was for your children's benefit.
Yeah, I want to know all that too. I just want to know if I the law is on my side if I refuse to pay until they prove to my satisfaction that I owe them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
Probably the dental insurance contract also requires repayment in these circumstances. Your ex may have the same obligation to pay them, Metlife won't care who repays. However, as between you and your spouse the divorce decree would govern who is responsible.
Sure. In this case, I was the breadwinner, the dental insurance would have been through my employer, and I'm sure I was listed at the dentist's office as the responsible party. I don't know if there is any clause in my divorce decree about debts discovered after the fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha View Post
One issue may be a statute of limitations issue. I don't know the limitations period in your state for Metlife to sue to recover erroneous payments. Though if the payment was only a year and a half ago, there is a good chance that the statute of limitations has not expired.

Get more facts before you pay.

And don't forget my signature line.
Yup. I don't know what the SOL is but 2 years seems reasonable, if annoying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LOL! View Post
So did your ex take the kids to a dentist and provide your old dental insurance information to that dentist?

Did you take your kids to a dentist and provide your old dental inurance information to that dentist?

Or did the dentist have that insurance information on file?
As I said above, I don't really remember that period in my life very well. If you go back and read my posts on this board at that time, I was probably griping a lot and whining about my divorce.

I don't know who took the kids to the dentist; it would have been me or their mother. My kids have all seen the same pediatric dentist since birth, so generally the dentist's office has our insurance information on file. I know they try to ask us each time we come in if it's still current, but I can't say for sure what happened in that time frame.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
From my experience in the employee benefit arena, MetLife probably wrote to the dentist also and requested that he/she refund the $246.00 that was paid "in error." Most providers (dentist) will comply with a request like this as they do not want to get involved in any future claims problem with MetLife. So, you will owe the dentist the $246, not MetLife.
Yes, I thought this is what they should have done. I don't know if they tried or not, or if they just figured it would be more direct and easier for them to go after me -- one less transaction that way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
You may wish to contact the dentist to get his/her take on it. Also, you may choose to just sit tight and ignore the letter for now and expect more correspondence in the future.
I plan to be proactive about it, and yes, I'll be calling the dentist's office next week to find out what's up. At least they should be able to tell if they submitted to insurance for those amounts and dates of service, and which insurance they submitted to, and whether the insurance paid them those amounts. If that all checks out and matches the information in the letters, I will probably complain to MetLife but pay them back and ask my ex to reimburse me half.

2Cor521
__________________
"At times the world can seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe us when we say there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough, and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events, may in fact be the first steps of a journey." Violet Baudelaire.
SecondCor521 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-13-2008, 11:55 AM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
mickeyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: South Texas~29N/98W
Posts: 5,881
Quote:
pay them back and ask my ex to reimburse me half.
Explain to MetLife that you are poor (compared to Mr Gates, you are) and have limited funds (don't we all) and offer to pay them $5 per month until the debt is paid off.
__________________

__________________
Part-Owner of Texas

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

In dire need of: faster horses, younger woman, older whiskey, more money.
mickeyd is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Paging Martha and any other lawyer types... SecondCor521 FIRE and Money 38 08-13-2007 08:22 PM
MetLife 401(k) Opinions? Craig FIRE and Money 7 11-02-2005 10:16 PM
Paging Martha wildcat FIRE and Money 5 05-27-2005 03:27 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 10:53 PM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.