NBC10 Boston Responds

NBC10 Boston Responds to Unexpected Dental Bill

A Haverhill woman reached out to NBC10 Boston Responds after her bill from Aspen Dental was almost $1,000 more than the original estimate

NBC Universal, Inc.

After being hit by with an unexpected dental bill, a Massachusetts woman reached out to NBC10 Boston for help.

"We get our cleanings, we go and have X-rays. And if there's a problem, we try to get it done," said Donna Hannigan of Haverhill.

When Hannigan found out she needed a root canal and a crown in May, she made an appointment with Aspen Dental to get it done.

"I sat down with an office worker and we worked it out. I said, 'Tell me the bottom line. What is it going to cost for the root canal and for the crown?'" said Hannigan. "She did a few things on the computer and came back to me with an amount. It was a little over $1,900, and I said 'Fine.'"

Hannigan says she signed a contract with Aspen Dental for that amount, applied for an interest-free dental loan and paid the bill, in full, before her appointment. But when she returned for a follow-up a few weeks later, she says she was told she had a $957 balance.

"I said, 'I don't think so, let's look at my account,'" she said. "So she made a copy, printed it out, and we looked at over and she realized that there was an accounting error on their part."

Hannigan says she was told the original estimate should have been higher.

"I was very frustrated. My husband and I are retired and we live on a nice income, but I don't want to pay something that I feel I don't owe," she said.

Hannigan says Aspen Dental told her a regional manager would have to make a decision about the balance, but she couldn't get any updates for weeks.

"This is part of May, all of June, all of July. She said that she sent another email to her regional manager and hadn't heard yet," she said. "I decided I wanted this settled, cause I had gotten a bill in the mail and I had gotten two emails to pay online, and I wasn't going to sign up for that."

She reached out to NBC10 Boston Responds.

"I watch many of your little stories that you have on Channel 10, and I am proud of the fact that you are so diligent and get it done," she said. "I said, 'OK, I'm going to see what Leslie can do for me."

We contacted Aspen Dental and asked them to take a look at the situation, and within hours, they called to say Hannigan did not owe any additional money.

"We were happy to resolve the issue with the patient," an Aspen Dental spokesperson said in a statement to NBC10 Boston.

"I was very happy," she said. "I reached out, and I hope a lot of people don't feel as though they don't have any resources to reach out. They should, they can, and I think it needs to be publicized more."

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