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Pre-Op Billing Resolved after 1 3/4 years

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As a self pay Bariatric patient I had labs done through Quest
Labs, and a swallow study done through Seton Hospital. I paid up front and had no issues. I then had my EKG, chest X-ray, and more labs done at another hospital that was recommended by my Bariatric surgeon’s office. If I had known this hospital was bought out by the non-profit hospital that is basically the only health plan option near me I never would have gone there. I have had issues with their billing in the past and learned to keep all my receipts.

My daughter was literally refused treatment for an ear infection until I drove across town to the finance office to prove I had made my co-pays. I also paid $250 in $25 co-pays to have one wart removed off of her finger. The Dr. tried freezing it off in the office several times. We were finally sent to dermatology where they tried a laser and then at the final appointment just numbed her finger and cut it out. This occurred in 2010. I was paying $400 a month to keep my children insured and my employer paid around $200. For $600 per month 10 years ago, I expected some health care. This is also back when Doctors got bonuses for not sending you to a specialist (I could fill up the entire internet ranting about that issue).

So, I paid in advance for the Chest X-Ray and EKG and was told I would receive a bill for the labs. About 4 months later I received two bills. One for the radiologist that read the chest x-ray and one for the Dr. that read the EKG. These bills came from separate offices (not the hospital). I tried to dispute them advising that I paid an agreed amount in advance. This did not work. I contacted the BBB and the X-Ray bill was written off, but the EKG wasn’t. I paid the $40ish bucks just so it would go away. Then I received another bill with itemized billing for my lab work, again this bill did not have the hospitals name on it. I paid that bill because those were the labs I had done. Then I received a bill from the hospital, this bill stated my insurance paid around $4000 and I owed them around $400. I called the number on the bill and advised them there was a mistake and requested an itemized bill. I was told over the phone the bill was for my labs and that the insurance adjustment was a mistake, but all I had to pay was the $400 Even though I already paid for the labs. So many phone calls it got ridiculous...I waited for my itemized bill, but I never received it. They just kept sending me the same bill showing that insurance paid a portion (my healthcare is through the VA and they did not pay them).

I didn’t want my credit to get messed up, so I paid them $1.00 per month so they wouldn’t send me to collections. After 2 months of paying them $1.00 they sent me to collections. The initial phone call with collections started out pretty aggressive, but when I explained the situation he stated he would get me an itemized bill. The bill came and it showed that insurance covered my EKG, Chest X-Ray, and labs and the $400 was for my portion of all three of those procedures! I submitted all the bills and receipts I paid to the collections agency and never heard back from them. I decided to follow up with them and received an e-mail from their agency stating that they have closed my case. I thought it feel good to “win” but instead I just feel sad that their billing is still so messed up. I think they just nickel and dime people to make money. They got $42ish extra from me, and I am sure I am not the only one.

My Dad says they started this new thing with Medicare patients where they can pay extra to be guaranteed same day appointments when they are ill and have access to their Doctor by phone 24hrs. This is crazy, his 90 year old neighbor is paying over $100 per month for this. If you are 90 and get sick the Doctor should see you!!! Umm, non-profit hospital?

I also love when the health plan guy comes to our annual renewal meetings and explains how to not get billed for well patient visits. Basically you don’t discuss any health issues you might have during your routine physical because if you tell them your knee hurts and they offer you advise like icing it, take ibuprofen, etc. then they can bill you for the appointment. Thank goodness my kids are grown and I go to the VA. The VA I go to isn’t perfect, but the stress of dealing with a health plan/billing from the only game in town is gone. I used to go to premier urgent care if I had strep and didn’t want to wait 2 days to be seen and it was like $140 the last time I went. Now they passed some legislation and the VA is covering urgent care. The clinic that is doing it is a little further from me, but not to bad. Also, I am not retired military or disabled in any way. I qualified for subsidies (pre-tax) through ACA (Obama Care) due to my income. If you are a veteran and you qualify for subsidies you get the VA, choosing the subsidies and another health plan is not an option. I could get health insurance through my work, but they only pay 1/2 of employee. For those that are curious, because I am not retired and do not have a service connected disability I do pay co-pays. But they are not crazy. I was hospitalized for 5 days and had two surgical procedures to include my gallbladder removal and my total bill was around $1200. They also billed after the hospitalization (no finance people in the ER) and they let me set up a payment plan of my choosing. I paid them off earlier with my summer school check.

We really need to fix our health care system...

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I had some of those issues when I had plastic surgery. It was all pre-pay, unless there were unexpected things that had to be done (like some tissue that had to be sent to pathology, which I paid for right away). But I kept getting all these bills for things that were supposed to be included in the package. The hospital used some third-party billing agency, so it was kind of a nightmare to get down to the bottom of it. Took several months to resolve. I'm glad I don't have to deal with this with my regular health insurance (an ***). I can understand now why people get so frustrated!!!

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That's not good I love Australia..

Any one who qualified as low income family gets full coverage from the government.

Until my RNY surgery I never had to pay for anything my surgery and all bills were covered that's all pre and post op consultations.

I go to my gp dr regularly. I've spent multiple weeks in hospital as a child for tonsils and appendix and kidneys.

I used to have blood tests monthly for my kidneys and I've never had to pay a cent for healthcare before I chose to get surgery.

If I wanted it paid for by the government I would have been on a waiting list for like 3 years and jump through numerous hoops but instead I went thru insurance and it was a quick easy process :) I just had an out of pocket expense but it was well worth it to get a private hospital and private room..

Never been to a private hospital before so it was an amazing feeling being cared for so much and I was there for 7 days with around the clock nurses unlike America where they seen to kick you out after a day or 2...

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My parents lived in Australia for a year. My Dad took a contract job there in 1997. They loved their time there. My Mom fell down and required stitches. They were very apologetic that she had to pay for the visit because they did not accept her American insurance. It was $70.00 and that price included the follow up and removal of the stitches. Our health care system is messed up. My Mom was sad that we were still doing pancake breakfasts to raise money for people’s children that needed life saving medical care. She had hoped to see a change in her life time.

Also, my oldest son visited Australia on a People to People trip when he was in the 5th grade. He came back with some awesome pictures and reported that koala bears smell like cough drops. It is on my bucket list of places to visit. Actually talking about doing a destination Christmas next year instead of gifts. After the fires subside maybe our tourism will help rebuild. Plus it is the only place in the world with more deadly snakes than Texas, so I must go...

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