I called the hospital today. Well, more accurately, I called the hospital billing department. The billing department is no longer in the hospital. The hospital is in Pennsylvania, where I live, and where my loved ones go to the hospital when they have a problem, medically.
The billing department is in Tennessee, where nobody, who goes to my hospital, lives or goes to if they have a problem medically or otherwise. Okay, maybe that ‘s not true, maybe some people go to Tennessee if they have a problem with say, country music, and want to see if it’s them or the music.
By putting the ‘billing department’ in Tennessee, it prevents all of us in Pennsylvania from actually going to the billing department to talk about a problem. That way no one has to discuss these problems face-to-face. So much easier, said no one, ever.
I called Tennessee today, and although the gentlemen was very nice, the problem was apparently unsolvable.
“I want to know if this bill, which started out at $4500 and is now magically down to $500 has been paid? ” I queried, for the third time in three months.
“Well, ma’am let me see. Now before I answer that question, even though you’ve given me the account number, can you give me the address on the bill, the date of birth of the patient, the date of the bill, the services rendered, the patient’s blood type and the name of their cat?” he asked ever so politely.
Okay, he didn’t ask for the blood type or the cat, but why not? My question is, why in heaven’s name do you put an account number on the bill if it means absolutely nothing in terms of information? Do you make more money by keeping me on the phone? Are you tracing the call just to make sure I’m not in Tennessee, but that I stayed in Pennsylvania where I belong?
We do-si-do all around the information, until we’re both exhausted and wish we had taken more square-dancing lessons, and finally, he says:
“Please ignore that bill ma’am the insurance company has agreed to review it.”
“Okay, but I have an estate to settle, so can I assume that the bill will be no more than the $500 you currently are requesting?”
“No, you cannot.”
Here’s where I want to find a cat, maybe a tiger or a lion, and release it into the wilds of Tennessee with the scent of this insurance company on its nose like a barrel of catnip.
“Um……….why would that be?”
“Well, what if the insurance company decides to take back all the payments they already made? Then the bill would be more.”
“Why would they do that?” I asked, “Medicare paid this over a year ago and this has been your fault for not properly submitting the balance to the other Medigap insurance carrier.”
“Well,” he replied, “we don’t know what they will do.”
‘Cause you don’t know what you’re doing……that’s really what I wanted to say.
But since he told me to ignore the bill, I’m gonna’ do just that. Probably forever.
“You Just have to Laugh…..”
©Cathy Sikorski 2016