Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I owe WHAT?

When I was sickly last month, Doc ordered some tests that had to be paid for up front. The billing office told us that my insurance wouldn't actually pay for any of it, but that they had a contractual agreement that policyholders only paid ~60% of the cost. The tests cost ~$1100, we were told, but because of the contractual agreement, our charges were ~$625. Which we paid.

Last week, we got a bill for $350 more. I managed to lose the bill for a couple days, but brought it with me to work today, so that I could call and get an explanation.

I didn't get the chance to call. A lady from the billing office called me at work this morning wanting to know where the #&*% their money was, and wanting me to pony up the rest by credit card or check over the phone, right then.

Their explanation: the tests actually cost~$1900, and the $1100 was after the contractual adjustment, and they only charged us the $625 before because they assumed that we had already met our deductible... apparently the insurance does actually pay a portion, after the contractual discount, if the patient's deductible has been met.

Sure would have been nice to know that up front.

I told her I couldn't give her any money this instant, that I have to go home tonight and look at our financial situation. For God's sake, even the credit card companies give you a month to pay before they start hounding you.

I know the federal regulations and such have put the medical community in a bind when it comes to money... and I empathize... but this lady is probably better suited to working at the IRS.

And I've lost my appetite for lunch.

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