Monday, June 29, 2009

Insurance - Psuedo-Required Torture for Your Health

So over the past few days I was lacking in material to vent about. Today, well today lightening struck twice.

Early in the afternoon I received a phone call from the hospital where my little arm surgery will be performed on Thursday afternoon. The woman was calling to inform me what my portion of the bill would be after insurance covered 70% of it. Here's how it went:

Special Office Woman: I'm calling to tell you your 30% that is due on Thursday.
ME: Ok.
SOW: Your 30% is $450 and you are required to bring that on Thursday before the surgery.
ME: What? Wait. I owe that on Thursday?
SOW: Yes, it's required.
ME: Why can't you just bill me?
SOW: Have you paid your doctor yet?
ME: No, they said they were going to bill me. I didn't even have to pay my co-pay, they said they'd just include it in the bill.
SOW: Oh, well our part is required.
ME: Why can't you just bill me?
SOW: Well you have to ask for us to bill you.
ME: So you can bill me and I don't have to bring it on Thursday?
SOW: Ok. Since you asked it's not required and we can bill you.


Later I was opening my mail and received an insurance claim (not a bill, just the statement of benefits) for my Bear. Last month the insurance folks didn't properly key in a sick visit for Bear. They claimed I owed another $190 because my pediatrician was out of network. After a phone call and insisting they search for my doctor's name, they discovered that yes, she was in-network and they'd have to re-process my claim (with a lot of drama and sighing apparently). Guess who didn't owe a damn red cent more? That'd be me, technically party of 4. Well, Bear had a well visit earlier this month and lo and behold, today's insurance claim tattled that they mis-billed it AGAIN. So I called. And I got this really, really special (lazy, rude) woman who informed me that until the insurance company sent the form to them they couldn't do anything. So I asked if she could make a note in my file so that it wouldn't get to the point where I was sent a bill and had to call back. Nope. No, in fact, they're going to waste paper and postage and mail me a bill and when I receive it I'll have to call back and get a new person and explain the whole thing over again. Like today's conversation NEVER happened. Cuz, that will be so sensible and fun. The best part of this? The lady DIDN'T BELIEVE ME that the same thing happened 4 WEEKS AGO. I had to insist that she LOOK at my last bill. And I had to INSIST that she check to see if this month's bill was keyed the same way. "Oh, yes, this will be another problem." But she can't make a note of it.

Whew. I hate that crap. I really, really wonder how many people get ripped off this way and just blindly pay their doctor's bills without checking.


JosiahsMommy June 30, 2009 at 12:43 AM  

Wow!! Thank you for the reminder to read through our bills! My little guy has had a lot of medical problems and I usually do read through what they send. This is just a good reminder to be even more diligent. I hope next month's bill isn't a huge problem.

Kekibird July 1, 2009 at 7:29 PM  

Insurance companies and doctor's offices are the worst. They just blindly bill away for things without paperwork or the correct process. And rarely does the right hand know what the left hand is doing so the doc office will bill without informing the insurance properly and then you're having to back track alot.

Can you tell it's happened to me before?? A bill for $600+ was lost once and it turned out this one office had it the whole time and didn't input it correctly. I found out when I tried to take my son to the doc office and they were asking cash in advance due to my unpaid bill. time!