Friday, November 08, 2013

A Tad Peeved

Don't you know it.....


Picked up my mail the other day, and lo and behold, I have a bill from a bill collection agency. It's for my emergency hospital stay. All the bill said was that the total was such and such, and I owed so and so. No itemization or squat - no indication of individual items and what the insurance paid, had not paid, or was pending. Just a bill.

From a collection agency.

Made me stew for a while, and I did have plans to call them and ask for an itemized bill, and then this morning, after I fired up my cell phone, I had a voice message.

From the bill collection agency.

Are you f$#@ing kidding me? I just got this bill in the mail about three days ago, no bill before, and already I've got bill collectors after my ass? For what?!?

I have no plans of NOT paying this thing - but I'd like better information. So I called 'em back and told 'em I did NOT get an itemized bill, and before I paid the complete balance, I expected to see one.

I've had this problem before - it's the voice of experience. This time it's the hospital, last time it was a certain medical center in the certain town with Boot Hill and Wyatt Earp Blvd. off to the east. When checking in there, they require you to at least make a payment on any outstanding bills. I was seeing a doctor there fairly regularly. I was paying every time I went in. Each time, they required at least fifty bucks. Finally, one day, I got an itemized bill. They were into me for several hundred dollars - there was no need to keep adding money to my balance. They'd been billing me for the full amounts before the insurance settlements, getting the settlements, and never letting me know I had a balance. So, the next time I went in, I was told I had to make a payment. I asked why? Well - because I owed it. Really? You want fifty bucks when I've got over two hundred on account? You tell me why again.

Oh. Well. We don't look at that.

Well, that little experience let me know that the billing side of their business is set up to draw in as much money as possible, legit, owed or not.

I was highly peeved and let the person know about it. They could have given a rat's ass. They've all justified their despicable behavior so they can sleep at night.

So, this gal today would send my itemized statement right out. I told her I'd put five hundred down (the bill is over $1800) just so they knew I was gonna pay. Of course the next thing was to get me to agree to monthly $500 payments.

Nope, not gonna happen until I get the itemized bill, and make sure the insurance company is through paying.

Honestly, I'm sure that my health insurance had paid off, and this is the final bill. But I don't know that for sure.

Y'see, this whole mess is one reason why I grate my teeth when the subject of uninsured patients come up. Why in the wide wide world of sports do ya think this crap goes on? Why do you suppose that bills are padded, services are overcharged and people who actually pay bills harassed? Why do you suppose that many doctors take cash payments that are severely discounted compared to what insurance companies pay (excuse me - partially pay).

It's to cover the uninsured who do not pay their bills. It's to pay for the illegal aliens who register under a false name and no billing company on earth can track 'em.

This is hardly the most equitable of income redistribution, but it is happening. Most of these for profit health organizations are quite healthy in the ol' balance sheet, and it's not because they're such Good Samaritans when it comes to people who can't afford their bills. They've just gamed the system to have the rest of us cover it.

And now Barry and the Democrats want us to cover even more expenses, and we're gonna have the IRS as the collection agency.

What could possibly go wrong?

1 comment:

creakypavillion said...

I was just discussing the sore-thumb-issue of healthcare bills someplace else, and various propositions on improvement.
Someone pointed out to me that as of now, the hospitals (not even ERs, hospitals on a whole) can not refuse a patient w/o insurance and unable to foot the bills. I, naturally, objected, as my own experience is the opposite (f.i., I was made to pay for basic mammography $330 at the time I was officially unemployed and other patients' insurance paid $150).
Then I was shown an article from MA newspaper:
" Emergency Medicaid is federally mandated. In order for Massachusetts to participate in the Medicaid program, which brings in billions of dollars in federal revenue, it must provide emergency Medicaid. Every state in the U.S., including those like Arizona that are hardly welcoming to illegal immigrants, provides emergency Medicaid. No candidate is proposing to withdraw Massachusetts from the Medicaid program which now covers over 1.2 million U.S. citizens and legal residents in the state...." So what is going on practically everywhere is an non-paying patient [with connections @the hospital, not EVERY non-paying patient] shows up, declares inability to pay, the billing department files Emergency Medicaid case on his behalf, and we the taxpayers foot the bill.
And then come somebody like me, w/o insurance but with sense of duty, and pays $330 for procedure even insurance Cos pay only $150 for.

As to the ways out of the current mess - see this video as example of one brave OK hospital.