Why do you need an MBA to decipher medical bills in the USA?

Hospitals bills and insurance EOBs in the USA are the equivalent of going to prison, surviving unharmed while there, getting released and being mugged and stabbed by ex-cons two months later.

I am always happy to get out of the hospital, but the real pain doesn’t come until a couple of months later when my wife and I open the mailbox.

The complexity and inaccuracy of medical bills bothers me, deeply bothers me, and makes me think we don’t live in what some consider to be the greatest country in the world.

undergear.com sells these for 9.97. BTW, that's me modeling them. I'm looking cut.

Either we have citizens who flunked basic math who are programming the billing systems, or we have creative geniuses inventing evil ways to delay and screw up payments so people just pay the bills because they don’t have the skills to figure them out.

So, we are either incompetent or immoral in this country when it comes to medical billing practices.

Example: Two months ago, we received a bill for my last hospital stay. We owed over $1,500 and the EOB matched up. Then for some unknown reason the hospital went back to the insurance company for seconds. The claim was readjusted. According to the EOB, our out of pocket is around $600 now and not $1,500.But the hospital is asking us for more money above the original $1,500.

What do you think the chances are we will get the refund we’re owed?

About the same as me never having to go back to the hospital again – unless I run in front of a bus wearing a suit made of EOBs and hospital bills (Our medical files are thick. I could make two or three suits if I knew how to sew paper).

Now starts the game we play to straighten it out. Well, my wife plays it. She has an MBA and works with numbers. It started with emailing 12 documents to the hospital, each with my wife’s handwritten notes, making them look like my junior high English papers.

If we ever get accurate and ethical medical billing in this country, I may start to believe we’re as good as we think we are. Until then, I’m hiding my Stars & Stripes lounge pants in my dresser drawer.

10 thoughts on “Why do you need an MBA to decipher medical bills in the USA?

  1. I feel your pain. Working through my sons copious medical bills while we were in the US was like sitting for an exam I had never attended a class for. I hated it with a passion and it never made a lick of sense.

    Now, I walk in, had over the government-issued medical card, see whom we are there to see and walk out. I don’t even need to take the paperwork if I don’t want to!

    Still, bureaucracy abounds in all continents, some of it is just a little more abundant than others, don’t burn those lounge pants yet – There’s good people up in them there hills 🙂

    • Karyn,

      I’m glad the system is better in AUS. I find it to be a nightmare here and something grifters designed.

      Thanks for all the comments by the way. Apologies for the late replies. It’s been all I can do to keep up with life lately.


      • UC Sorry I haven’t responded this comment was sitting in my junk folder of my email – WTF? No idea. Life’s like that sometimes, so you deal with what you can, when you can…and the rest…the rest will wait. Hope you are on a better track – take care.

      • Karyn,

        Thanks for the support. Hospital bills are the gift that keeps on giving. Luckily, I married well and my wife takes care of them. Not exactly a job I like her doing, but it helps me.


  2. I knew that was you modeling the PJ pants!

    You should do what I do…just don’t pay the bills. Then when you get a final notice before it goes to collentions call the number and start crying. They don’t know what to do when a woman starts crying so they forgive the charge. Works like a charm!

    • Stacey,

      I knew you would have guessed it was me modeling without the caption. Thanks, #1 fan. The crying thing wouldn’t work for me. Plus, you have charm and that very engaging mid-west accent. It’s not just the crying. 🙂


  3. I agree with Stacey – about the pants and the crying. Before making calls to medical billing people, I always tell myself to tap in the part of myself that cries when frustrated and not the part that yells. It’s so much more effective. I know they respond well to a woman that’s crying, but I wonder what they’d do for a man that’s crying. Hmmmm, UC want to test this out and get back to us?

    • Margie,

      Never agree with Stacey. That’s exactly what she wants. If was capable of crying, which only happened on a plane on the way home from a long business trip and during some sappy movie, they would charge me double for the pain and suffering I caused them having to listen to me cry.

      I’ll pass on the technique. Glad it works for you and Stacey.


  4. Hmmmm, what is it about us CF wives and being in charge of our husband’s medical bills? Must have been something in the wedding vows I missed.
    I f’ing hate the mounds of paperwork that overtake my desk and overwhelm my brain with every hospital stay or every procedure in-between.
    Sending you wishes for some pain-free EOBs and refunds that actually get processed.

    • Liz,

      It is in the vows. The priest reads it in Latin. That’s probably why you didn’t catch it. Fortunately, my wife took Spanish in high school, not Latin. You and my wife should probably compare notes sometime. Her desk sounds like it looks a lot like yours. She has folders of medical bills and EOBs.

      I’ll get the refund, hmm . . . never . . . because they’re systems are not designed to give money back.


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