Monday, December 7, 2009

I'm Peed Off

I'm peed off. That's what this British lady I worked worth would say. Seems sort of comical, but truly I'm hoping mad.

I hate the medical industry.

Case in Point #1: Back in January 2009, I went in for a routine pap smear. I received a bill back at the end of October for over 400 hundred dollars. I have insurance so I know that the procedure doesn't cost that much. Stunned I called the doctor's office. After talking to several staff members, they directed me to their billing department. The lady looked at my bill and said "that's not right. Let me find out what is going on and I'll call you." A week later I receive a call from the same lady. She explained that the billing department neglected to bill my insurer in a timely manner. The insurance company refused to pay because they have a window of time and they missed it. As a result, I had incurred the charge. Fortunately, because it wasn't my fault, she told me that they would remove the charge from my account. So I didn't end up paying it.

Case in Point #2: Back in early April, I contracted the flu. I ended up having difficulty breathing so I went to St. Joseph's Hospital (a Catholic Hospital). This is normal. You have trouble breathing you go to the emergency room. The doctor's did an x-ray and everything was fine. They decided to give me a breathing treatment (which didn't help) and sent me home with an inhaler. A couple of months later they billed me for the doctor and the x-ray. But today they are billing me for using their hospital. This is a whopping 441 dollars to get a breathing treatment that did not work. Plus this is 9 months after the fact. Hello, I'm 8 months preggo now. Why did it take so long for them to bill me the entire amount? I'm probably going to call them and ask them for a itemized bill. Then I'm going to write a nasty letter about their billing practices.

My point is. Don't accept charges at face value. Find out exactly what they are charging you for and why. The medical industry is about making money and their billing departments often make errors.

I'm especially upset because this is supposed to be a Catholic hospital and yet they still follow the same practices that other hospitals do. I even had a friend who could not pay for his bill but offered to pay for a portion at a time. For some reason St. Joe's wouldn't not accept a payment unless it was in full. This is illegal in my state. Non-profit institutions are obligated to accept any payments that you can make. But like I said, it's a money making industry. I am so looking forward to health care reforms.

3 comments:

  1. How frustrating! I was shocked after going in for my annual exam last year (I figured, how much could it cost? and decided to pay out of pocket because I was uninsured) and they charged me just under $400. It was ridiculous! I paid it and didn't even think to question it... It was a lot for five minutes with the doctor!

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  2. :-( Understood.. While I was pg w/ Kalila we rushed to St. Lukes (a Baptist hospital) and they gave us so much grief it wasn't even funny.

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  3. Yep, I could tell you horror stories about billing practices. Insurance companies are awful. They are not non-profits and they act rediculous. I think the hospital billing staff get so frustrated, but they don't help the problem. They try to pass on the buck to the patient.

    My dad told me that a year after my grandfather died they received a medical bill. You can't force the family of a deceased member to pay any outstanding bills like medical or credit card. I think that they told them that he was dead.

    It seems I'm trying to be hit up for money. Even collections agencies keep calling my house looking for different people. I told a lady today that the person they were looking for never has lived here and I don't know who that person is. She said "well maybe she had that number before you." I said "Well I've had that phone number for five years." She took our number off the list. They don't do their research either.

    It's all about money. I know I shouldn't have been so curt, but she couldn't have called at worse time. I was already upset with the hospital.

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