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.
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.