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View Diary: First Doctor Visit in Five Years: Why Repubs Want Us Broke or Dead (224 comments)

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  •  The billing for medical care is literally insane (13+ / 0-)

    A couple years ago, I had some PT for my foot. I received a bill for $89 (my share, after insurance), along with about 30 other bills for things like x-ray, radiologist, etc. - each of which is not only in its own department, but bills completely separately. To make it worse, the hospital itself is two separate legal entities, and some departments were in one entity and some in the other. Anyway, I paid the bill after the second reminder.

    A few weeks later, I got the same bill in the mail. I asked what the deal was and was told they'd applied the money to a different bill, so it was still due. Fine, what a nuisance. next time I went in, I had the secretary look up the total owed from 2012 (this was Jan of 2013), and apply a single payment to pay everything off. She did ... for the wrong legal entity. So, now I still owed the $89, but had used up the flexible spending account balance on bills that weren't due, yet, from a different department. Of course, I found this out when I received another bill a month later for the same $89. Gaaaah! So, I went down to the hospital's central billing office and made the person show me the computer monitor as she credited the payment for that bill (which was, by then, several months overdue).

    Cut to September - I get another bill for the same $89! The bill had been queued up to be sent to a collection agency sometime during that whole saga. So this version was from their in-house collection agency (I guess that's more efficient than an independent one?). It was an automated process, but apparently a very slow one, so 3 months after it was finally paid, I was being billed, again!

    I called and told them the bill was paid and they needed to check their records. Since this was the collection agency arm, and not the regular office, they did the normal collection agency BS of not believing the bill was paid. They sent more bills w/nastier wording, started calling, all the fun stuff. Finally, I took one of the dunning notices, changed the sending address to the regular billing department, and paid it by mail, certified, with return receipt, so someone had to sign for it. I know I didn't have to, but I wanted something to take to court if they continued harassing me. That was in December.

    On Saturday (it's now March), I received a check from the hospital ... for $89 ... for overpayment.



    On the plus side, the collection arm stopped annoying me in January, and I did get my money back (though I had written it off as a lost cause - a human response that I assume collection agencies rely on). I'm guessing whoever had to sign for it in billing figured out what the deal was, and their very, very slow processing eventually led to the refund.

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