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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Why the ER Should Forgive My Debt

Remember two and a half months ago when Joe was in the ER and had his appendix out and then two weeks later I was in the ER for dehydration and then 10 days later I was in the urgent care because I tried to sew my finger onto a scarf? Seriously, this girl knows how to celebrate the holidays! We've received and paid (or set up a payment plan) all of those bills, except for my ER bill. We received an initial statement (you know, the kind that says in large letters THIS IS NOT A BILL) indicating they would submit around $4k in charges to the insurance and then nothing happened.

Today, I would like to present my case for why they should forgive my bill completely.

1. When I arrived at the ER, I filled out their little form to enter me into the computer system. Two hours or so later, Joe asked if they would be calling me soon because we had been waiting a long time. They had never put me in the system, despite having my form in their pile of papers. They then rushed me through as the next patient and straight to a bed for treatment, everyone along the line apologizing profusely and calling me a saint for my patience. I did not make a big deal of this since once the mistake was discovered, they reacted properly to make it as right as they could. I even got an apology note in my release papers.

2. My husband has already set up a payment plan with the same hospital for the eleventy bajillion dollars we owed for the removal of his appendix. Can't we through in a little dehydration visit for free?

3. After two months of receiving no bill and daily stalking occasionally checking the insurance website but seeing no submissions, I actually had to call them this week and say "Could you please send me a bill so I can give you some money?" They had the wrong insurance policy number. Would they have waited indefinitely if I hadn't called? I think the fact that I had to call and ask for a bill should mean my debt is forgiven.

4. Isn't there some statute of limitiations on billing? Like if I don't receive a bill in a timely fashion for services rendered, too bad for them?

My guess is that I'll have to pay them somewhere between $85 (the amount left to reach my deductible for the year) and $872, which would be my deductible remainder plus 20% of the $4k. I'm assuming they'll discount the bill considerably once the insurance gets hold of it, so hopefully it won't be too bad.

Especially after the discount I'll get for reasons 1-4 above. Right?

11 comments:

Melinda (Sew-Lin) said...

I totally agree. It was their mess up, they should just eat the charges.

JosephAlsarraf said...

Wait.....! What..? You also cut your finger? : | Anyway, I don't think you should have to ask them for a bill. Maybe they thought the same thing?
: )

TMC said...

You've convinced me.

Intense Guy said...

No... I afraid it's not going to work that way... and I'll bet they'll try to figure out how to add interest charges on it to boot...

RoryBore said...

one big reason to yell "Oh Canada!". 3 pregnancies, 3 c sections, 3 - 3 day/night hosptial stays, and one 6 week stay due to pre-term labour risk =

Zero dollars owed.
yep. as in zilch cost to me.

Toriz said...

Perhaps you should suggest to them that they start handing out "your next treatment is free" coupons for you to present next time you go? With the 3 trips you're now being charged for (2 for yourself, and 1 for Jo) that would mean they owe you 3 coupons now, so your next 2 treatments and Jos' next treatment should be free.

It's times like this I give thanks for the NHS (national health service) and decide that the sometimes not as good as I'd like service they offer isn't too bad when you consider that they don't charge me for it due to us being considered a "low income household"... I was especially greatful for it when - out of curiosity - I asked my surgeon how much the eye removal operation would have cost had I needed to pay for it, and he told me that the implant they put in there to help it keep its shape alone was about £500 (that's somewhere between $750 and $1000) and that's without the medication, the fee they charge for the doctors' time, etc, and bearing in mind I had to go back in a couple of times because the implant wouldn't stay in. I'd still be paying that bill now; almost 4 years later, I think!

Jeanie said...

Well, I'm on your side with this and I think you make your argument very well. You may have a wee bit of trouble getting the hospital to go along, but I certainly wish you luck in your efforts.

C. Beth said...

Oh yes, I'm sure they will listen to your logic. Because logic is the hallmark of medical billing.

:)

criticsinmykitchen said...

I completely agree. Did you show them this post? Surely someone who works there has a heart, if not a brain...

John said...

I do believe that the true source of medical billing is to make as little sense as possible.

So, I'd anticipate a bill for $87,239,998,101 tomorrow and then a letter stating that your bill has been paid in full.

And then, three months later, you'll get a note, from the hospital, saying that you now owe your library $82 in late fees.

Mim said...

I'm with John!~